EA student killed in car wreckPublished 9:48pm Monday, July 23, 2012
Faculty and students at Escambia Academy are trying to cope with tragedy this week as a recent edition to the EA student body was killed Monday evening after his vehicle collided with an 18-wheeler.
Noah Allison, 17, who came to EA from Charles Henderson High School in Troy alongside new athletic director and head football coach Hugh Fountain, was a promising student-athlete who lost his life only weeks before senior year of high school was scheduled to begin in Canoe.
According to Alabama State Trooper Kevin Cook, Allison was killed around 4:44 p.m. when his 2011 Chevrolet Camaro struck a 1998 International truck driven by James R. Barnett, 61 of Banks, on U.S. 29 at the 152-mile marker.
EA Board of Directors Chairman Chris Kirk said he and his family had come to love Allison, who had been living with them in their home since he transferred to EA in April.
“We thought of him as family,” Kirk said. “He moved in with us in April just after spring break. He actually went through about a month of classes. He did fine in his classes. The kids really took to him and liked him. He was a very bright engaging young man. Always loved a conversation. He loved to debate and talk about different issues. He fit right in with our family. Our boys treated him just like a brother.”
Fountain said Allison’s death was a huge blow to everyone who knew him.
“When a person is lost, the families are the ones who suffer the most,” Fountain said. “We feel that pain also because they were wonderful people. I drove to Troy to visit with Noah’s mother Monday night. She called me around 7:30 and said she thought Noah had been in an accident but wasn’t sure. I was getting a lot of phone calls from Troy and wasn’t sure why. She called me back and said he had been in an accident and had passed away.”
Fountain himself is no stranger to tragedy as Allison’s was the second life lost by a current or former Charles Henderson player in only the last week. On Saturday night, 2011 graduate Jacobi Jones was stabbed to death in a fight. Allison is also the second player Fountain has seen die recently in a car accident. In June 2011, Fountain lost lineman Ronnell Moore, a rising senior, in a crash.
Fountain said the losses are never easy to cope with.
“There are so many teenagers killed in car accidents everyday,” he said. “It is so sad to see a kid pass away that has such a promising future and is a good man.”
Kirk and Fountain each spoke of Allison’s tremendous talent and leadership abilities both on and off the football field.
“He was a leader on the football team,” Kirk said. “He anchored that offensive line as a center, so it’s a big loss in that respect, but more than that we’re just going to miss him as a family member.”
“What I admire the most about Noah is that he is a tremendous leader,” Fountain said. “He had a great way of pushing the rest of the kids. He was the same every single day. He was the same in Troy as he was when he came to Escambia Academy. He never changed his attitude or demeanor from one place to the other. He was just Noah Allison.
He was a fine young man. I had the privilege of coaching him at Charles Henderson. I was honored that he wanted to come here at play football (at Escambia).”
Kirk said the decision to follow Fountain to Atmore was not one Allison came to lightly.
“Coach Fountain, when he came down, he identified two kids he knew that he felt would want to follow him,” Kirk said. “Noah had been home schooled up until the ninth grade and lived alone with his mother, so he really attached himself to Coach Fountain. (Noah) was certainly glad he came down here and said he thought it was the right thing for him and his mom did too. Even after all of this happened, she said she felt like it had been a good fit for Noah.”
Kirk said Noah did suffer from both sleep disorders narcolepsy and cataplexy, but added he took medications and had no way of knowing if his conditions may have caused Monday’s wreck.
“I’m not going to speculate on whether it had anything to do with the wreck,” he said. “But from the skid marks where he went into the other lane it looks like it was possible that he blacked out.”
Fountain said Allison was on his way back to Atmore at the time of the accident, following a tough week of workouts.
“He had a long week last week and a long weekend,” he said. “He went to the Alabama football camp last week, a 7-on-7 on Friday and the Sanford football camp on Saturday. He stayed with his dad in Birmingham Saturday night. He called me Saturday night and told me he was going to be back on Tuesday. Monday was the first day of workouts he had missed all summer.”
“He was on his way back home here,” Kirk said. “But he only made it a few miles.”
As state troopers work to determine the cause of the accident that claimed Allison’s young life, friend and family said they will continue working to fill the hole his passing has left in their lives.
“Noah was way beyond football,” Fountain said. “He was a great person and a great guy.”