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UPDATE: Community Remembers Teen Killed in DUI Crash

By: Olivia Fecteau; Jennifer Rizzi; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Olivia Fecteau; Jennifer Rizzi; WSAZ News Staff Email
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Neighbors Dealing with Grief of Their Own

 

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) --Neighbors who witnessed the accident say they’re left in shock and grief. Now they’re cleaning up damage to their yards while feeling the emotional damage to the community.  

For Arthur Tucker, the tragedy hit far too close to home for comfort.  

“I was in bed when it happened …it sounded like an explosion going off,” he said.  

Tucker walked out to find the car totaled in front of his house and a trail of destruction left behind it. A chain link fence, a garbage bin, and a bird bath were all displaced in the accident.  

“Two boys yelled, ‘my buddy’s down,’” said Arthur, who rushed to help the victim, 16-year-old Colin Quall. But he knew right away it was too late. 

“I took my hand and laid it on his throat … he didn’t have a pulse,” Tucker said.  

Diana Tucker also watched the terrifying scene unfold. She says facing the destruction outside her home was nothing compared to the heartache of watching a young life taken too soon.  

“It just makes you sick when you’ve got kids and grandkids their age,” she said. “I went back in the house and I just lost it.”  

Now, the Tuckers are left mending a broken fence along with their broken hearts, and they hope other teens learn an important lesson through the pain. 

“With this being a friend that most all of them knew, maybe they’ll see things in a different light,” Diana said. “You can only hope.”

 

UPDATE 7/29/13 @ 11:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A community came out Monday night to remember the life of a teen killed last week in a DUI crash.

Friends and family of Colin Qualls, 16, gathered at Riverside High School for a candlelight vigil in his honor.

Qualls was killed Thursday night when the car he was riding in with four other teens crashed on Hughes Creek Road.

State Police say alcohol was involved. Qualls was the only student who didn't survive.

"It's just a really hard day for our community and the eastern part of Kanawha County," Riverside Principal Valerie Harper said. "We lost one of our family members."

Friends described Qualls as a happy-go-lucky free spirit who brightened their lives every day.

"He always put a smile on everyone's face, and he was just a breath of fresh air for everyone," student Cassidi Legg said.

Longtime friend Jordan Glover says Qualls was well known throughout the community.

"He played a big part around the neighborhood ... he loved everyone and loved playing sports," Glover said. "It's a shock for everyone."

Funeral services will be conducted Tuesday at Riverside.

A car show will also be held Aug. 10 at the high school to benefit the Qualls family.



UPDATE 7/26/13 @ 6:20 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Less than three years after Charles Qualls was killed in a coal truck accident, his family is dealing with another life cut short as his son Colin was killed in a car crash early Friday night.

Colin Qualls, 16, was one of five teenagers in a car that crashed about 12:10 a.m. Friday on Hughes Creek Road. West Virginia State Police say the driver, Dustin Burkhardt, 18, was drunk at the time of the crash and that the car rolled over several times. Police say they expect to file charges against Burkhardt in the near future.

"Why did it have to be him?" Matthew Qualls, Colin's 12-year-old brother, said. "It just isn't fair. We've already lost a family member."

"Bad stuff happens every day to good people," Valery Harper, principal of Riverside High School, where Qualls was a student, said. "That's a hard thing to teach kids."

Another student in Qualls' grade was killed in a motorcycle accident in May, according to Harper. She said the shock of losing a student is much like losing a family member.

"What could we have done differently?" Harper said. "Now, it's what can we do to help Colin's family?"

Matthew said he and his older brother were close, especially after their father's death.

"Me and him just hugged each other and said we'll take care of each other," Matthew said.

"There's [no] words to describe what you feel," Nicole Parsons, who was Qualls' guidance counselor, said.

Parsons counseled Qualls in middle school, helping him through the grieving process of losing his father.

"It was difficult for everyone," Parsons said. "It's hard for kids to open up, especially for boys."

Matthew said he tried to stop Colin from leaving the house.

"You get the feeling in your stomach that you're going to be next somehow," Matthew said. "Every time he goes out that door, I feel like something's going to happen to him."

Matthew said now he will try to be there to support their younger brother, who is just 7 years old.

"He's only at that young age where he can't understand," Matthew said.

Colin was involved with JROTC and played football at Riverside. His brother said he loved playing sports and driving his 1994 Ford Escort, and that he hoped to go to Marshall University.

There will be a vigil at Riverside High School starting about 7 p.m. Monday.



UPDATE 7/26/13 @ 11:30 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teenager is dead after West Virginia State Police say he was involved in a DUI crash.

The accident happened about 11:30 p.m. Thursday along Hughes Creek Road in Kanawha County.

Troopers tell WSAZ.com the driver, Dustin Burkhardt, veered off the road, hit a telephone pole and several fences, before coming to a stop in front of a house.

Officials at Riverside High School tell WSAZ.com Colin Qualls died in the accident. Four other people were hurt. They were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be okay.

Burkhardt has been treated and released from CAMC General.

Troopers say alcohol played a role in crash and charges are pending in the case.

Qualls was a member of the JROTC. School officials say the JROTC is having a car show on August 10 and they now plan to donate all the proceeds to Qualls family.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/26/21013@ 10:15 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teenager from Kanawha County who was killed in an accident was a student at Riverside High School.

The accident happened about 11:30 p.m. Thursday along Hughes Creek Road.

Firefighters say the driver of the car veered off the road, hit a telephone pole and several yard fences, before coming to a stop in front of a house.

School officials tell WSAZ.com Colin Qualls died in the accident. Four other people were hurt. They were taken to the hospital. No word on their conditions.

Qualls was a member of the JROTC. School officials say the JROTC is having a car show on August 10 and they now plan to donate all the proceeds to Qualls family.

Investigators believe speed played a factor in the crash.

West Virginia State Police are investigating the accident.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATED 7/26/13 @ 1:32 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man was killed and four others injured in a single-car crash on Hughes Creek Rd. near Hugheston in Kanawha County.

The Glasgow Fire Department tells our crew at the scene that speed was a factor when a car veered off the road, hit a telephone pole and skidded through several folks' yards.

The car hit a chain link fence, a garbage bin, and several other fences before coming to a stop in front of a house.

It's unclear if the man who died was driving. The four surviving crash victims were taken to the hospital. All were alert and walking around when crews arrived.

Investigators on scene are trying to figure out what caused the crash.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/26/13 @ 12:25 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Metro 911 dispatchers tell WSAZ.com one person has died in a crash on Hughes Creek Rd. near Hugheston in Kanawha County.

It happened about midnight in the 5200 block of Hughes Creek Rd. Metro dispatchers say as many as five people were in the single-vehicle crash.

We have a crew headed to the scene.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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