Friends remember Saluda County teens fondly


SALUDA, SC (WJBF) – As a South Carolina community mourns the loss of two teenagers killed in a car crash, friends stopped to reflect on their lives.

The kids, who all attended Saluda County High School together, told NewsChannel 6 the halls have been quiet each day.

MORE: 2 teens killed and a 3rd critically injured in Saluda, SC

Friend Blaine Horsley, a sophomore, stopped by the site where the young men were in the crash.

“I went to church last night probably for three hours and prayed. I grabbed a bible out the sanctuary and wrote a little note on that bible and sat it here last night,” he said. “And Drayton always loved turkey hunting, so I put two Remington turkey magnums.”

Those are memories that will never be forgotten.

Freshman and friend Zazkhary Koon spent the day in quiet contemplation too.

“Just friendship. Just family,” he said.

Koon lives across the street from where his friends, 17-year-old Drayton Black, a senior at Saluda County High School and 16-year-old Jaden Coleman, a sophomore, were killed in a car crash on Long Street, near U.S. 378 in Saluda County.

Drayton Black and Jaden Coleman were both killed during a Saluda County crash.

Jaden’s brother, Kadius Coleman, was also in the car and is still fighting for his life in a Columbia Hospital.

A memorial just off the road is a visual reminder of the joy both young men brought into their loved ones and friends lives. Drayton, who was known as D-Ray to his friends, will be remembered for his big heart.

“I went to a friend’s house and I didn’t have no way back home and he came all the way out there to pick me up,” Koon recalled of Black. “I asked him did he need any money. He said no, keep your money and do whatever.”

Sophomore Samantha Jones rode the bus each day with Jaden Coleman. She said he lovingly teased her and friends at times and it’s those moments she will miss most.

Jones said, “I had this friend name Hannah and he would sing this about her. He’d go, Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana with a baseball bat.”

The students say their friends will also be remembered as athletes, Jaden for football and Drayton for baseball. Blaine Horsley added he was right there with them playing and creating lifelong memories.

He said, “D-Ray’s truck. You could ride through town and see that tan Chevy and know who it is. Jaden too with that black GMC. You will always know who that is. Sad.”

The past few days at Saluda County High School have been very tough. So tough that some students had to leave school early or not go at all.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps

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