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Friends lay flowers near scene of wreck that killed beloved teacher


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    BUNCOMBE COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — Friends laid flowers next to the Eblen Intermediate School sign after the death of a music teacher stunned the community.

Jason Minnix, 47, died after a collision with a West Buncombe fire truck Thursday afternoon.

A short distance away from the scene of the tragic accident, friends brought flowers to remember Minnix, who proudly shared the gift of music at the school for the past three years.

“The community, our students, we’ve lost a wonderful person,” said Angela Woehl, a friend of the family.

“The impact he’s had in a number of schools and a number of communities,” she said, becoming emotional.

Woehl and other friends brought bouquets wrapped in sheet music.

He had just left the school on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. when, according to the Highway Patrol, Minnix made a left out of the school driveway in his car. At the same time, a West Buncombe Fire Department ladder truck was rushing down Lee’s Creek Road to a fire reported at Erwin High.

“Which resulted in the fire apparatus and that vehicle colliding,” explained North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Rico Stephens. “At the end of that collision, the occupant of that Chevrolet Tracker that was turning onto Lee’s Creek Road succumbed to his injuries.”

The accident remains under investigation, Stephens says.

“Our firefighters take great pride in serving our community and helping those in need,” West Buncombe Fire Chief Dennis Fagnant told News 13. “To be part of something so tragic deeply affects all of us, and I just want to express my sincere condolences.”

Minnix taught for 20 years, a career that included his work as band director at Owen High School. His widow Brandy is also a Buncombe County music teacher.

His Twitter profile sums it up: “Music… ’nuff said.”

“He will be remembered as a compassionate and creative teacher who cared deeply for his students,” a release from Buncombe County Schools stated. “He understood the power of music and the arts and hoped to inspire his students to find their unique voices.”

“Jason Minnix was a kind and gentle soul,” said Principal Jeremy Stowe. “He was always eager and willing to help out around the school. Mr. Minnix had a love for music and was very talented. From this combination, he created many imaginative and interesting lessons for his students.”

Mr. Minnix poured his heart and soul into Eblen Intermediate. The flowers at the entrance of the campus are a reminder of a life cut too short, and the legacy friends hope makes a difference for years to come.

“Music was so instrumental in his life,” Woehl said. “And we hope the music carries on for the students he has instructed.”

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