By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The Escambia County High School community, still trying to cope with the recent death of one of its coaches, is now trying to deal with the untimely passing of a member of its student body.
“Right now, our students are taking it fairly well,” ECHS Principal Amy Cabaniss said of the death last Friday of Elijah Mallory, a junior-level student who had been taking classes from home for more than a year. “Elijah was a virtual student all year, so many of the students had not seen him since last March, when the schools closed due to COVID 19.”
The 17-year-old, son of Jacques Mallory of Bay Minette and Brandi Roberts of Atmore, was killed May 14 in a single-vehicle crash that happened on Atmosphere Road, about nine miles north of Atmore.
Alabama State Troopers reported that the teen was driving a 2007 Ford Fusion when it left the roadway and hit a tree. He was the only occupant of the vehicle.
Cabaniss said school officials had visited the teen’s family.
“We visited with the family yesterday, and they are taking it one day at a time,” she said Monday. “I am sure they will need help … and we will do our best to help them out.”
The ECHS principal said the community’s outpouring of grief in the wake of Elijah’s death and that of Coach John Shears, who was found dead (of natural causes) April 29 at his Mobile home, proves that support is a two-way street.
“Our entire staff has done an incredible job of ‘being there’ for our students, and the students have done an incredible job of ‘being there’ for us through some very tragic and difficult times,” Cabaniss said. “The support we have received from everyone is greatly appreciated and has made it possible for us to cope and continue moving forward.”
The adolescent’s body was reportedly taken to the state crime lab in Mobile for an autopsy. Funeral arrangements are pending release of his remains.