SXSW crash victim from Garrett remembered as kind-hearted

Jamie and Evan West Yearbook Pictures
The Garrett High School yearbook pictures of Jamie and Evan West.

GARRETT, Ind. (WANE) – Former Garrett residents Jamie and Evan West were two of the people hit when a drunk driver crashed his car through a street barricade and into the crowd at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Photos: Deadly SXSW Crash

Jamie, 27, formerly Jamie Cook, was killed when she was hit by the car while she was riding a moped at the festival. Her husband, Evan, 28, was critically hurt. One of Jamie’s relatives tells NewsChannel 15 that he had to have surgery Friday night to relieve pressure from his leg. His recovery outcome is still unclear.

“Jamie was an extremely kind-hearted person who always had a smile on here face!! She will be missed deeply,” the relative wrote to NewsChannel 15. 

Jamie graduated from Garrett High School in 2005 and Evan graduated in 2003. The couple married in July 2012 and moved to Austin about two years ago.

Jamie West
Photo of Jamie West provided to NewsChannel 15 by a relative.

They both loved the outdoors. Jamie was a very talented artist and won numerous art awards during her high school career.

“Jamie’s one of those students who comes along once in a lifetime, just special,” Mark Ober, the art teacher at Garrett High School, said.

One of Ober’s favorite memories of Jamie is how she’d mix paint on her hand instead of a palette.

“Of course the next thing you know all the Painting 1 students are painting on their hands. She’s just that kind of person. By modeling and by example, you wanted to be like that,” Ober said.

Ober never forgot his former student, and can still see where she’d always go to the same spot in the room.

“Some special students from years past would write their name on my desk and right in front of where I sit is Jamie Cook.”

Ober said after high school Jamie worked at the Garrett Museum of Art when it first opened. The gallery just started a new exhibit and a display is set up to honor Jamie. There was also a tribute reading Friday night. Her art will be on display for about a month.

Garrett High School Band Director Paul Marlow said he was in awe of Jamie’s art work,. He instructed Evan in the jazz and marching band.

“He’s one of those kids that keeps a smile on your face. A great sense of humor, a dedicated kid, outstanding musician. He’s one of those kids you remember,” Marlow said.

Evan played the trombone. He also played basketball and soccer and ran track and cross country. But, he was most known for his sense of humor.

“One year the principal at the time was very adamant that everyone come dressed properly to the prom and he came in a bunny suit. Of course he was taken home and came back in a shirt and tie. Just one of those things that showed his sense of humor. It was his way of making everyone laugh,” Marlow remembered.

Even though Jamie and Evan moved away, the small town of Garrett is still stunned by the sudden tragedy.

“Everybody knows everybody. Somebody knows their family or knows someone who ran around with them. It’s bound to hit everyone, even if you never met them,” Marlow said. “They were such great people. They were always good to everyone, were people with outstanding character and great personalities. They were just great people.”

To read a comprehensive AP article about the crash and view a CNN video, click here.

blog comments powered by Disqus