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Virginia Cadet, 18, Killed in Stafford County Crash

"Hug your kids hard. You never know when they might be gone."

A first-year cadet at the Virginia Military Institute who was back home in Stafford County, Virginia, for the Thanksgiving holiday died in a car crash Saturday.

Jamison Clark, 18, was driving a Suburban down Sanford Drive early Saturday morning when the vehicle went off the road and smashed into a tree, the Stafford County Sheriff's Office said.

Clark didn't survive the crash.

The passenger in the SUV managed to escape from the wreckage and went to the hospital with minor injuries, authorities say.

A small memorial with a VMI shirt and flowers now marks the site of the crash.

"Please know that we have read every post and comment and saved every photo to cherish when the storm calms down and a new life begins for those of us who loved Jamison and wish for a different outcome," Clark's mother wrote in a post on Facebook.

"Hug your kids hard. You never know when they might be gone," she said.

Clark attended Colonial Forge High School for his freshman and sophomore years before finishing high school in Germany. His family says he played lacrosse and was in the Navy ROTC.

His family said he chose to follow in his father's footsteps and join the VMI Corps of Cadets in Lexington. Clark majored in international studies.

"We are saddened by this tragic news. He was at the beginning of his college career, with all the hope an excitement that comes with it. We offer our deep-felt condolences to his family and to his classmates," a spokesperson for VMI said in a statement.

A memorial service will take place at the VMI Chapel on Dec. 13 and a funeral mass is planned for Dec. 16 in Triangle, Virginia.

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