Two small towns in Texas are mourning the loss of three middle schoolers who were killed earlier this week after being ejected from a truck involved in a rollover crash.
The students have been identified by their schools and obituaries as Kooper Preston and Luis Nevarez, both 13 years old, and Aydan Mooney. The students attend schools in White Deer and Pampa, small towns in the Texas panhandle.
A driver in a Chevy Silverado was traveling at a “high rate of speed” around 2 a.m. Monday when the truck skidded off the road, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety report as posted by the Borger News-Herald. The truck rolled over multiple times and the three juveniles were ejected out of the vehicle, the crash report said.
A coroner pronounced the three kids dead at the scene. A fourth juvenile, who is 13 years old, was taken to Pampa Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. The teen, who was transferred to a Lubbock hospital, was identified in a GoFundMe as Laykon Fuqua.
The truck’s driver has not been publicly identified.
Pampa Junior High School, where Kooper and Luis attended, called the incident “heartbreaking” in a Facebook post Tuesday.
Brittany Stark, the lead counselor at Pampa High School, said the White Deer and Pampa communities are leaning on one another.
“We band together, we’re family. And we support each other, we help each other, we bring each other meals,” she told KAMR. “I think that is the best thing about small-town living is that we do take care of one another in difficult times.”
A candlelight vigil will be held Wednesday night at Pampa’s Harvester Field.
Aydan was a seventh-grade student who played football and liked riding motorcycles, according to an obituary.
“Aydan was very handy, as he could work on just about anything,” the obituary states. “He enjoyed building crosses and worked hard at his mowing business. His smile was his best feature, but he also loved to make others smile. He would do anything for anyone in need.”
“You touched so many lives in your 12 short years...that is incredible,” Megan Atwood said on Facebook. “You definitely left your mark on this world.”
Kooper was also a seventh-grade student, who played football, baseball and had a love for rodeo, according to an obituary.
“Kooper loved to live life to the fullest and loved being around people,” the obituary states. “His family was so important him and he always gave them a hug and told them he loved them. Kooper had some really good friends and he loved each of them.”
Loved ones said “there was something about” Kooper that made him special, also commenting about how he was “filled with smiles, laughter, hugs, curiosity and loads of questions.”
“You were such a kind, loving, compassionate, fun kid, and you lit up every room you walked into” added Ella Price.
Luis was an eighth-grade student and was a member of his school’s football and baseball teams, according to an obituary.
“Luis had a contagious smile and was a great friend and loved to make people happy,” the obituary states.
Also known as Louie and Lulu, the teen “had a lot of friends and people who truly loved him.”
“The good really die young and I now know this cause there was SO much good in you along with potential, this world along with so many others will never be the same without you Luis,” a relative, Juanna Olivarez, said on Facebook. “You touched everyone in a different way and impacted so deep In a way I’ve never seen until today & we were only blessed with 13 years of it.”