Eldorado High School students and staff will be saying goodbye to a friend Tuesday.
Joel Martin Boulds, 17, Eldorado, died early Saturday morning as a result of an automobile accident. Services will be at Duff-Kingston Gym 4 p.m. Tuesday with visitation beginning at noon.
Boulds had a girlfriend in Fairfield, according to Eldorado High School Athletic Director Greg Goodley who had been a coach, teacher and friend to Boulds since Boulds' freshmen year. Goodley understands Boulds was returning home early Saturday morning from visiting her when the crash occurred.
Wayne County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Andy Milner said Boulds was driving south on U.S. Route 45 when his vehicle evidently drifted off the roadway onto a raised median and struck an Interstate 64 bridge support. The sheriff's department was notified of the crash at 3:58 a.m. Boulds was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital where he died of injuries sustained in the crash, Milner said.
Goodley said Boulds was a friend to many who always wore a smile on his face.
"He was just a real life-loving kid, being able to joke around with him and he would joke back. You could challenge him and he wouldn't get down about it, but try to do anything you asked. He was a really fun kid to be around," Goodley said.
Word of the crash reached the Eldorado Police Department Saturday morning and Eldorado staff and students heard the news. Coaches Joe Clark and TJ Zurliene opened the gym and the students arrived to hear the news.
"There were about 40 to 50 kids who came just to talk. That says a lot for Joel that so many kids showed up on a Saturday," Goodley said.
"It shows that he meant a lot to people. Aside from being an athlete, he just had a lot of friends."
Boulds played basketball consistently through high school and played football his freshmen year when he sustained a knee injury.
Goodley said Boulds had a plan for post graduation. He was excited about the opportunity to attend Southeastern Illinois College on the Tim Drone Agricultural Scholarship.
"It's just tough to see a guy so excited about his future," Goodley said.
Grief counselors will be available this week at the school.
Boulds was born in Fairfield to Kevin and Janie (Bradley) Boulds. He is also survived by his maternal grandmother, Donna C. Bradley of Eldorado and paternal grandparents J.R. and Carolyn Boulds of Eldorado.