Liberal teen dies in ATV crash


LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) — The town of Liberal is in shock tonight after one of their own died in a tragic accident Wednesday night.

Brett Cunningham was killed when the ATV he was riding on crashed. He was 14 years old.

“I was in shock,” said Joe Denoyer, the mayor of Liberal. “It’s a tragedy any time a child loses their lives.”

The Eisenhower Middle School student was riding an ATV driven by a 16-year-old when they crashed on a county road. The driver was not injured.

“Knowing those two boys,” said Denoyer, “knowing that they were related, they were cousins, just two boys, young teenagers out having a fun time in the summer turned tragic. I was shocked.”

Brett’s mother is a teacher at Garfield Elementary.

“The families are very involved in the community and in the school district, so everybody knew these kids, and it’s just a tragedy,” added Denoyer.

Word of Brett’s death is still spreading, but the mayor is confident he’ll see an outpouring of support from the community and ways to help the family.

“I haven’t heard of any way yet,” said Denoyer, “but knowing this community like I do, there will be several opportunities in the days to come.”

For now, the mayor wants the family to know they’re not alone.

“It’s going to take a long time to get through this,” he said, “but know that they have the support of the community, the support of the school district, and we’ll be there for them in any way that we can.”

Eisenhower Middle School will have grief counselors at the school on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, helping students, parents, and friends cope with the loss.

Cunningham had just finished 8th grade and was going into high school next year.

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