2 Indiana students were on their way to prom when they were killed in a car crash

Arika Herron
Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS — Two high school students were on their way to a  prom Saturday evening when they were killed in a vehicle wreck.  

Lendon Byram and Kalen Hart died in the crash, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said. Byram was driving and Hart was the front-seat passenger, and two other students in the car were injured.

Hart's Instagram page says she was a member of the Class of 2021 at Hamilton Heights, where the prom was being held. The small district in northern Hamilton County is about 45 minutes from downtown Indianapolis. Byram was a member of the Class of 2022 at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.

Two other high school-aged passengers in the backseat of the car were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the sheriff's office. A driver was in the other car, an SVU, and declined medical treatment at the scene.

Superintendent Derek Arrowood announced the news on the school corporation's Facebook page. The district canceled all prom-related activities and said it would have grief counselors available at the event venue and at the high school. 

Lendon Byram, a junior at Cathedral High School, was killed in a wreck Saturday along with his date, Kalen Hart, as they were heading to the Hamilton Heights High School prom. Kalen was a senior at Hamilton Heights.

"We share our heartfelt condolences to the families of the students impacted by this tragedy,” Arrowood said in a statement released Saturday night. “No one expects something like this to happen, and when it does, it leaves an entire community grieving. Please keep these families and our students in your thoughts and prayers.”

In a Facebook fundraiser seeking $15,000, Kalen Hart's mother, Jody Bartrom Conaway, posted she was raising money to help pay for the funeral and burial expenses. 

"No parent should ever have to bury their child," she wrote.

In another post, with a photo of Byram and her daughter, Conaway wrote: "This was taken at my moms retirement party a few weeks ago. I didn’t even get to see my baby girl in her prom dress. I love you so much, Kalen Rae! I am so proud of the young woman you were becoming. Rest easy my baby girl."

Hart was a senior and preparing to attend Indiana University Kokomo, according to social media accounts.

Both schools said grief counseling would be available for students and families.

Cathedral High School in Indianapolis posted about Byram's death on its Facebook page early Sunday. "It is with great sadness and a heavy heart we share the passing of Lendon Byram '22," the school said. "We ask that you please pray for Lendon's family, friends, and all who knew and loved him."

Grace Trahan-Rodecap, a school spokeswoman, said Byram had recently been inducted into the National Honor Society. He also was a member of the school's speech and debate team and was scheduled to represent Cathedral and Indiana in the national competition in June in the international extemporaneous speaking category.

Hudson Miller, a classmate at Cathedral, posted a poignant memory Sunday on Twitter: "Crazy how you were just talking about how excited you were to get to go to a prom in Comp last week," Miller wrote. "Our corner of the room won’t be the same. Still not settling with me. Look out for us down here Lendon." 

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Ryan McClain said officers were responded to a two-vehicle wreck 5:15 p.m. The two students were in the front seat of a four-door car and pronounced dead at the scene. Two other high school-aged passengers were in the back seat and taken to a local hospital, McClain said. 

Follow IndyStar education reporter Arika Herron on Twitter at @ArikaHerron.