A 14-year-old East Texas boy died in an ATV accident Saturday morning. Thomas Hicks of Tatum lost control of his four wheeler on a gravel trail off of Hollyhock Road near Ore City. Tuesday was the first day back to school for Tatum Middle School students since the accident. It was a difficult day for everyone, remembering their good friend and student.
"It was just a shock to all of us because we all know him and he's got good friends and he's a big part of our school, says Tatum Middle School Principal Bob Garcia.
It was an emotional morning for teachers and students at Tatum Middle School, hearing the tragic news that eighth-grader Tommy Hicks died in an ATV accident.
"They know when they go through graduation in four more years, there's going to be an empty chair where Thomas would have been sitting because he would have made it," says Garcia.
Tommy was off-roading on a deer lease road with some of his friends Saturday morning. He apparently lost control of his ATV, and hit a tree, throwing him into another tree where he hit his head. He was not wearing a helmet.
Those who knew Tommy say he loved the outdoors and being a member of band.
"He was real quiet but he always took care of his business. It was a pleasure to have him in our band," says Head Band Director David Densmore.
Tommy played the baritone in Tatum's High School band, just one of a dozen eighth-graders good enough to do so.
"There's definitely going to be a hole in our group and I believe this morning our students hearts were broken and I think it's going to take a long time for it to heal," says Densmore.
"He was just an all around, all American good kid," says Garcia.
This week the school is remembering Tommy by flying flags at half staff, but every year they'll remember him through a special honor given to a student, called the Tommy Hicks Award.
A visitation service for Thomas Hicks will be Tuesday at 7 o'clock at the Lakeview Funeral Home in Longview.