Two South Plains Communities Mourn The Loss Of Two Teens - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/21/08

Two South Plains Communities Mourn The Loss Of Two Teens

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We are learning more about what may have caused a deadly Floyd County accident.

Department of Public Safety Troopers tell NewsChannel 11, 18-year-old Nolan Armstrong of Lockney lost control of the truck around 5 a.m. Sunday morning. The truck hit a ditch and flipped on County Road 91, just West of Floydada.

Investigators say four of the five teens in the truck were ejected and none of them had seat belts on. Dylan Thomas, 15, and Tanner Sue, 17, were both students at Floydada High School. Both died at the scene.

EMS rushed Armstrong, Drew Carthel, 17, and Chris Hayter, 18, to Mangold Memorial Hospital in Lockney. Hayter was later taken to Covenant and is listed in critical condition. NewsChannel 11 has learned Carthel was released from the hospital and Armstrong is expected to be released Tuesday.

Meanwhile Floydada students were back in school Monday without two of their classmates. Tanner Sue was a senior here at Floydada High School and Dylan Thomas was a freshman. However, nearly eleven miles away the community of Lockney is also feeling their pain.

"It was a tragic accident," Superintendent of Floydada ISD Jerry Vaughn said.

"Just lost my breath when I heard about it," Long time friend of Dylan Thomas, Brandon Basaldua said.  

Tanner Sue's close friend Eladio Saldana added, "I couldn't believe it. I felt like it was a replay of what had happened back in the past.

Members of Floydada High Schools Class of 2008 are no strangers to facing tragedy.

"In 8th grade we lost a very close friend, Cade Miller and this year we lost Tanner which was another close friend," Saldanda said.

Freshman Dylan Thomas was also riding in the Chevy Avalanche early Sunday morning. He also died, along with Sue at the scene. Yelitza Serrate has gone to school with Thomas since pre-kindergarten. She said, "He was just an awesome guy, just to lose him in that kind of accident, yeah."

However, it's not just the community of Floydada that is feeling a loss. In total five students were riding in the Avalanche, three from Floydada High and two from Lockney High.

"Our kids were so close in proximity that our kids run together and inter-date each other," Vaughn said.

"It was an after-party in Lockney, and everybody went to the party and I guess they were drinking," Basaldua said.    

The Floydada District Attorney's office says the driver, Nolan Armstrong, may have been a designated driver, but authorities are still investigating. However, no matter the outcome, there are still two empty seats left behind at Floydada High.

"The only thing we can do is just live and that's all you can do. Just enjoy the moments you had with them, keep loving them and always remember them," Saldana added.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday in Floydada at the First Baptist Church. Sue's will be at 10 a.m. in the morning, followed by Thomas's at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

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