Community mourns Symmes Valley grad hit and killed by car


LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – A community is mourning the loss of a young man who was hit by a car and killed early Thursday morning.

Houston Bennett, a graduate of Symmes Valley High School last spring, died of injuries sustained in the crash on State Route 7 just south of Athalia shortly before 1 a.m.

“A couple of friends started texting me saying he was successful,” said Hunter Shepherd, who graduated with Bennett. “Honestly, I didn’t believe it.”

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers say Bennett was on the road when he was hit by a northbound Ford Explorer. Friends say Bennett was not far from where he lived.

The 20-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I’m still trying to process it, I guess,” Shepherd said. “It doesn’t seem real.”

“It was a shock,” said former classmate Maggie Wise. “I had no words. It was even hard to process back when someone you knew personally left so soon.

Wise grew up in Willow Wood right across from Bennett, better known as Huey.

“He had the Xbox, so I was there, or he was asking me if I wanted to go for a walk, and we’d go for a hike somewhere,” she said. “He was probably the nicest person we all know. He would go out of his way to make anyone laugh or smile.

Shepherd played football with Bennett.

“Everyone knew him as the best happy, outgoing, pretty much school guy,” he said. “He always had a positive outlook on things. Even now, I would say he wouldn’t want us to be sad. He would have us try to be happy with everything no matter what. That’s exactly the kind of person Huey was.

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