HORSEPEN — A Mingo Central High School student was killed and another severely injured Tuesday morning on their way to school in a single-vehicle automobile crash near Horsepen Mountain.
Tyler Hatfield, 17, of Browning Fork in Gilbert, was killed when his Chevrolet Silverado truck rolled over as he drove to school. The crash happened early Tuesday around 6:30 a.m.
Dakota “Cody” Carter was a passenger in the vehicle and had to be flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
The two boys were on their way to school at Mingo Central when the crash occurred.
Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Arthur Farra said the preliminary investigation shows that speed and wet roads were most likely contributing factors in the single-car crash.
“We had a single-car rollover on Route 52 probably two miles off Horsepen Mountain on the Gilbert side on a straight stretch,” Sgt. Farra said. “We had two males in the car, one of which was a fatality.”
Farra said he was dispatched around 6:40 a.m.
The boys were nearly to school when the crash happened on a straight stretch of U.S. Route 52, about two miles from the foot of Horsepen Mountain and just minutes away from the high school.
“I’d say they were probably 10 minutes from school,” Farra said.
The crash happened just a few miles away from the new King Coal Highway that runs from the top of Horsepen Mountain to the top of Mary Taylor Mountain near Matewan. The new highway goes directly past the school and athletics complex.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin was in Logan yesterday and said he had heard about the tragic crash on his way down from Charleston. Senator Manchin offered his condolences to the families.
“It is just a tragedy when these things happen,” Senator Manchin said. “I can only imagine how the parents and family feel. My heart goes out to them. My prayers are with them. I can only imagine, as a parent, losing a child. That has to be the most excrutiating thing in the world. It’s just a shame.”
Not long after the news of Hatfield’s death, his Facebook page was filled with heartfelt words of sympathy from classmates and friends.
The tragic fatality is the first for a student at the new Mingo Central High School, which consolidated Gilbert, Burch, Matewan and Williamson high schools. This is the first year for the school. Hatfield was a football player on the last Gilbert Lions team.
Former Gilbert High School Football Coach Patrick Cline praised Hatfield and said he will be missed.
“He was a joy to coach,” Coach Cline said. “He gave 100 percent all season.”
Patrick Cline’s wife, Teresa, also knew Hatfield.
“He was a great kid, who had the biggest smile at all times,” Teresa Cline said. “He visited my house and was a respectful young man. He also attended our youth program at Freedom Full Gospel. We loved him and his family is so special to us.”
A candlelight vigil was scheduled to be held in his honor at the old Gilbert High School football field last night at 8 p.m.
To contact Staff Writer Michael Browning, call 304-752-6950, extension 309, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.