County mourns loss

PICKENS — For the second time in as many weeks, School District of Pickens County officials were forced to issue a statement reporting the loss of a student to a traffic accident on Monday.
Following last week’s death of 10-year-old fourth grader Keelan Odom, the SDPC was saddened by the tragic loss of 9-year-old Raven Stancell, a third-grade student at Ambler Elementary, in Friday’s car accident just outside Pickens city limits.

The accident also claimed the life of 36-year-old Chrystal Harrison, a social worker with the Pickens County Department of Social Services.

“We are very sad about the loss of one of our precious Ambler children,” Ambler principal Carlton Lewis said in a school district release Monday. “We ask everyone to remember her brothers in the hospital and all families involved including the family of Chrystal Harrison, the DSS social worker who passed away.”

Stancell had been a student at Crosswell Elementary from 4K through part of second grade before leaving in late spring of last year to attend Ambler, according to school district spokesperson Julie Thompson.

Crosswell principal Traci Boyles said the school community was “deeply saddened” by the loss of Stancell, whom she called a “beautiful girl with a sweet spirit and caring heart.
“We were blessed to have her as a part of our school for the past five years,” Boyles said. “Our hearts go out to her family and to the other community affected by this tragedy. We also wish to express our sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Chrystal Harrison.”

Stancell’s second-grade teacher at Crosswell, Cindy Fricks, said that her “smile and positive attitude towards school and friends will be missed by all.”
“We will treasure our memories of her,” Fricks said.
Lewis and Boyles both arranged to have additional counselors at their schools this week to help students with cope with the loss, Thompson said.

Pickens County DSS director Keith Frazier said the outpouring of support in the wake of the tragedy has been tremendous.

“First of all, I want to thank everyone that has contacted my staff and/or me over the past couple of days to offer support and prayers,” Frazier told the Courier Tuesday.

“The tragedy that happened Friday night was one that will affect my staff and me for quite a long time. We lost of one the best workers you can ever imagine having and a beautiful foster child.”
Frazier said the healing process will be a tough one for his staff and all those touched by the loss of Harrison and Stancell.

“Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers,” he said. “This will be a tough week for us and the families involved.”

Frazier also said funds have been set up in memory of both Harrison and Stancell at Carolina First Bank.
Harrison’s memorial fund will go to pay for the education of her two young children, who she left behind along with her husband.

The fund in Stancell’s name will be shared with her brothers, who were seriously injured in the wreck.
Frazier also said the Pickens DSS office will be closed on Friday for the funeral of Harrison, which will be held at Adams Funeral Home in Seneca at 11 a.m.
Funeral services for Stancell are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at Westville Funeral Home in Greenville.