Always in our hearts: Eureka Springs students killed in weekend accident
The Carroll County community is mourning after two Eureka Springs students were killed in a car accident over the weekend.
According to a preliminary report from the Arkansas State Police, two boys were killed and four others were injured in the accident, which occurred at 4:50 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, on County Road 219 in the Grandview area northwest of Berryville.
A 2004 Hyundai was southbound on CR 219 at a high rate of speed when it left the roadway and hit several trees before coming to a stop, according to the report. The road was wet and the weather cloudy at the time of the accident, the report says. None of the boys were identified in the ASP report, since all were under 18.
Eureka Springs High School Principal David Gilmore confirmed that sophomore Kyle Daugherty and former student George “Buddy” Milawski were killed in the accident. Gilmore remembered the students, saying they loved spending time on the basketball court.
“If they had a free minute before school or after school, they were shooting baskets,” Gilmore said. “They were great kids, so talented and so likable. I’ve got fond memories of talking to them about their interests. We’re going to miss them.”
Junior Grayson Ertel said Daugherty always had a smile on his face and greeted everyone with a fist bump or a hug.
“He had a really contagious smile,” Ertel said. “When he smiled, you would always smile back. He always made us laugh. He had a funny personality, and he was a phenomenal athlete.”
Junior Emily Bird said Daugherty liked to joke around with teachers, and sophomore Madison Smith said he’d joke around with anybody.
“He definitely knew how to make my day and annoy me,” Smith said, “but he always made my day better.”
Sophomore Preston Hyatt said he felt lucky to know Daugherty.
“He was a great person,” Hyatt said.
Freshman Mackenzie Loudermilk remembered how Daugherty would wear shorts even when it was freezing, and sophomore Gustavo Tapia said Daugherty even wore shorts under his pants. Loudermilk said Daugherty always wore a cross necklace, saying he never lost faith.
“He wanted to be an aerospace engineer for NASA after he got out of the Marines,” Loudermilk said. “He just loved space and everything about it. His favorite thing was a nebula.”
“Kyle was a straight A student,” Tapia said, “and if he got anything below an A, he’d get mad.”
Milawski recently moved to Fayetteville, but Ertel said everyone at Eureka Springs grew up with him.
“He’d always greet you with a smile and a hug,” Ertel said. “He had this hilarious laugh that would make us hysterical. He was so goofy. He loved his family, friends, school and basketball.”
“His mom was his best friend,” Bird said. “He always talked about her, always wanted the best for her. He never let anybody down.”
Smith said Milawski loved basketball.
“His life was all about basketball,” Smith said. “He was definitely a goofball.”
Hyatt described Milawski as “the class clown.”
“He always had a lot of good jokes,” Hyatt said. “His personality would light up everyone’s life.”
Tapia said he’s known Milawski since the first grade.
“We played soccer and basketball. We’d always get in trouble together,” Tapia said. “We used to go to his house a lot just to hang out.”
To help students with their grief, Gilmore said the school held an assembly Monday morning and had around 15 counselors available for group or one-on-one sessions.
“We had help from Youthbridge and local counselors from Berryville and Green Forest,” Gilmore said. “It’s been an outreach of support here. The community has been great to help us. We’re making it the best we can.”
Right now, Gilmore said, the staff and students are focusing on good memories.
“They were very popular, and we’re a small school,” Gilmore said. “Everybody knows everybody. They’ll be deeply missed. They had a big impact on our school.”
Gilmore added, “It’s been hard on these kids. They grew up with them. To see it end like this — it’s tough.”
Berryville High School Principal Donnell Armstrong confirmed that one of the students in the accident was from Berryville. Armstrong said counselors were available at Berryville for students in need.
“Our community is pretty shaken,” Armstrong said. “All the kids tend to know each other from these three schools. We’re a very close-knit family. This affects our whole community.”
Gilmore thanked the community for its support during this hard time, saying he feels grateful to live in Carroll County.
“When I came in on Sunday to meet with my staff, there was a bouquet of flowers stuck between the handles on the door,” Gilmore said. “It’s that kind of support.”
“We loved them both very much,” Ertel said. “They’re always in our hearts.”
There are several ways to donate to the families of Daugherty and Milawski. Benefit accounts have been set up in their names at Cornerstone Bank or you can donate online at https://www.gofundme.com/funeral-expense-account-for-kyle-daugherty or https://www.gofundme.com/funeral-expense-account-for-buddy-milawski. All donations will go toward funeral expenses.