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Friends, coach share memories of Pickens student killed in wreck

{jcomments off}Jordan Simonds was the type of person “everyone wanted to know”  



Jordan Simonds knew how to touch everyone’s heart. “He was amazing,” says longtime friend. “He knew what life was about.” Photo courtesy of family

 Sixteen-year-old Jordan Matthew Simonds died Saturday, March 11 when the 2004 Jeep Liberty he was driving careened off an embankment on Salem Church Road.

Simonds, a PHS sophomore, was transported to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital and his 15-year-old passenger, Jed Groover, was taken by helicopter to Kennestone Hospital where he remains in intensive care. 

According to Georgia State Patrol Commander Tim Nichols, around 3:40 p.m. on Saturday Simonds was travelling westbound on Salem Church Road about 1.5 miles from the intersection with Highway 515 when he ventured into the eastbound lane. He overcorrected to return to  the westbound lane and went off a steep embankment. 

“It looks like he tried to steer back real hard to the right and it caused the vehicle to start sliding,” Nichols said.

Nichols said the young driver lost control “once he tried to steer it back into the westbound lane.”

“The driver’s side is the one that struck the embankment,” Nichols said. “He was belted in but the impact was just too strong.”

He was just 1.5 miles from his home, Nichols said. 

Contrary to online reports,  passenger Jed Groover was not thrown from the vehicle. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to the GSP report, but was found inside the vehicle by first responders. 

The speed limit on Salem Church Road is 35 miles per hour. Nichols said, “It’s my opinion he was in excess of that.”

The GSP report lists speed, failure to maintain proper lane and driver error as causes of the accident. 

Simonds held a Georgia learner’s license, Nichols said.


Tributes to Jordan


PHS Athletic Director Chris Parker said Jordan was an exemplary defensive lineman for the school’s varsity football team.

“We had him for two years at the high school. He was a good boy, a good young man,” Parker said. “Everybody liked him. He was a pleasure to be around.”

Parker said Simonds was  “a promising athlete.”

Friends of Jordan also had high praise for the young man, saying he was a “very likeable guy who made everybody’s day better.”

“He is the type of person everybody wanted to know,” said Rudy Perez, a friend of Jordan’s and a junior at PHS. “His affection toward everybody made everybody feel better. His smile got everybody. It’s hard to believe  someone so young with so much life is gone like that. He was so close to so many people.”

Perez and Simonds played football together and spent time weight training, often going over to each other’s homes after practice. 

“He pushed me and I pushed him (in the weight room),” Perez said. “For him it was about getting better in weight training and in football. He was a hard worker.”

Perez said Simonds was the “type of person you would strive to be.”

Another friend, Josie Saint, met Simonds several years ago and the two became close friends. 

“He was always a good friend of mine. He would always be there to talk to. He  was someone you could have a deep conversation with,” she said. 

Saint said Simonds “always knew what life was about” and he was the type of person you “couldn’t stay apart from because he was like some sunshine in your day.”

Saint said Simonds loved weight training and was always excited when he hit a new max weight.

“He was amazing. He was very beautiful. He really had the most gorgeous blue eyes ever. He knew how to touch everyone’s heart. He connected with everyone.”

A Go Fund Me Memorial account has been set up for Jordan, who was born on November 11, 2000 to Will and Jessica Simonds. Jordan has two brothers, Tyjai Howell and Jayden Simonds, both of Jasper.

To donate to the fund, whose goal is $15,000, go to

The Pickens Sheriff Facebook stated, Community Bank of Pickens County has a memorial fund opened in the name of Jordan Simonds. This is to assist the family with funeral expenses. Anyone interested in making a donation can visit one of their two locations and have it go to the Jordan Simonds Memorial Fund.

A separate account should be active in the name of Jed Groover to assist with medical expenses that his family has incurred as he is still in the Intensive Care Unit of Kennestone Hospital.  


See original press release from Pickens Sheriff