Community mourns loss of 16-year-old driver killed in crash

Marching band drum major killed in crash

HARRISON, OH (FOX19) - A community is mourning the loss of a teen who is the daughter of a local pastor and attended Harrison High School.

A large white cross now marks the site where 16- year-old Kayla Durler died Wednesday shortly after pulling her car in front of a Butler County Engineer's Office vehicle hauling mowing equipment on Reily-Millville Road in Reily Township, according to the Butler County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Richard Jones said the investigation appears to show Duerler pulled out in front of the vehicle, which wasn't able to stop in time.

Her grandparents were in the car with her at the time and remain hospitalized, a family friend said.

Duerler recently received her driver's license, a family friend posted on social media.

She was a pastor's daughter, and her family had a congregation at Life Spring Christian Church on Harrison Avenue.

Grief counselors were on hand at her school Thursday.

About 40 students reached out to them for help as they grieve the loss of their classmate.

Duerler was a big part of the school's performing arts program, and those who knew her say she will be sorely missed.

"We've had an outpouring of support, not only from our schools, but from our churches and our community," said Principal Matt Lindley. "Students like Kayla are the heart and soul of our school."

Lindley, who has only been at Harrison High a year, said he wishes he'd had the chance to get to know Duerler better.

"The stories that I'm hearing about Kayla and her leadership, her friendship, you know -- her love of books," he said. "Most of it's about being a friend, but also being a great person."

She also had a passion for music and the school's marching band.

"She was a leader in that band," her principal said. "She was going to be a drum major and just loved to play music and be with her friends."

A group of students is organizing a book drive in Duerler's memory.

Donations will be accepted at the high school next Monday and Wednesday.

A memorial service for Kayla will be held at the Harrison High School Activity Center on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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