Fatal Post-Prom Accident Prompts Safety Concerns - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/22/08

Fatal Post-Prom Accident Prompts Safety Concerns

High school proms are scheduled through next month, and some parents say it's time to talk with your children. The conversation follows the death of two Floydada teens, killed early Sunday morning.

Dylan Thomas, 15, and Tanner Sue, 17, died after the vehicle they were riding in flipped on County Road 91, west of Floydada. Nolan Armstrong, 18, was driving the vehicle. Authorities say alcohol and speed may have caused Armstrong to lose control.

Drew Carthel, 17, and Chris Hayter, 18, were also injured. The teens left a party that followed Lockney's high school prom. Tuesday night, Armstrong and Carthel were out of the hospital. Hayter remained in critical condition at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.

Betsy Jones tells us her son is preparing for his prom this weekend. She says the Floyd County accident is serving as a tragic reminder to all students and parents that safety is key on prom night.

"Oh, it scares me to death," Jones said. 

Jones can't help but think of her son when she looks at images like the ones from Floyd County.

"I say to my son, I hope you're paying attention.  I hope you're reading these stories. You know, it's not an abstract problem that your parents are worried about. It's very real," Jones said. 

Jones' son will head to prom on Saturday, along with the rest of Lubbock High School.  Coronado and Plainview have dances planned for the next weekend, followed by Monterey, Lubbock Cooper and Levelland to name a few.  With so many proms left, you can bet many more parents share Jones' feelings.

"Ideally, your children go some place after the prom where you know where they're going, where you know the parents involved, you know the other kids who are going to be there, and you can communicate between parents to know what the plans are," Jones said. 

Jones is one of several parents already planning a safe and alcohol-free program after graduation. She knows some communities have similar parties after prom, but since her son's school does not have one scheduled, so she's planning a smaller get-together at home.

"I personally have made the offer to my child; bring everybody to our house after the party and I'll cook breakfast.  I've heard lots of my friends make the same offer," Jones said. 

Investigators with the TABC tell NewsChannel they're still trying to determine where the teens in Floyd County may have gotten alcohol. Right now, they are not releasing any suspects.

Funeral services for Dylan Thomas and Tanner Sue will both be held at the First Baptist Church in Floydada. Sue's service will begin at 10 a.m. and Thomas' will follow at 3 p.m., both on Wednesday.

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