2 middle school students in Manhattan-Ogden district killed in crash


MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Highway Patrol says two 14-year-olds died and three other teens were injured in a crash in Manhattan over the weekend.

Television station KSNT reports that the crash happened Sunday afternoon, when a sport utility vehicle heading east on Kansas Highway 18 crashed into a concrete bridge pillar and burst into flames. Investigators say the two 14-year-olds, who were middle school students in the Manhattan-Ogden School District, died in the crash.

A third teen was seriously injured and flown to a hospital by medical helicopter. Officials say the two other teens suffered minor injuries. The patrol did not immediately release the names of the teens killed.

USD 383 Families,

It is with great sadness that I am informing you of the death of two of our students. While words cannot express our collective grief and sadness at this tragic news, I recognize the importance of you having this information as quickly as possible so it can be discussed within your family prior to tomorrow’s school day. 

Early in the morning of Sunday, December 5, there was a single car accident with two fatalities. Eisenhower Middle School students Gaysha Alfred and Kenni Cantu passed away in the accident. Anthony Middle School student Jean-Carlos Vasquez-Ponce was life flighted to KU Medical Center. Two additional occupants of the vehicle sustained minor injuries.

We have implemented our Emergency Response Plan to provide support to students, staff members and families during the difficult days and weeks ahead. Counselors and other school staff will be available in the school setting to assist students and staff. If you feel your child needs additional assistance or is having a great deal of difficulty coping, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school. While it is important to deal with grief, loss, anger, and fear reactions, we believe it is essential to resume as normal a routine as possible regarding the school schedule and activities.

Dr. Marvin Wade
USD 383 Superintendent

Parents and guardians in USD 383 are told they can do the following to support their child:

  • Talk with your child about his/her feelings about the tragedy; share your feelings too
  • Talk about what happened, give your child information he/she can understand
  • Reassure your child that they are safe; you may need to repeat this reassurance often
  • Listen and comfort your child often
  • Reach out to school mental health liaisons – Samantha Brown ( samanthabr@usd383.org) or Carrie Hewins ( carrieh@usd383.org)

Anyone with other questions or concerns is asked to contact the school at 785-587-2880.

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