2 Tarrant County teens die in motorcycle wreck

Posted Friday, Sep. 05, 2008  comments  Print Reprints
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Two former students at L.D. Bell High School died overnight in a motorcycle wreck near the intersection of Texas 161 and Texas 183 in Irving, officials said.

The victims were Robert Wright, 18, of North Richland Hills, and Derek Smith, 18, of Bedford, according to the Dallas County medical examiner's office.

Officer David Tull, Irving police spokesman, said both riders were traveling at a high rate of speed shortly before midnight on the southbound Texas 161 ramp toward westbound Texas 183.

Smith, however, lost control of his motorcycle, struck a wall and was thrown over the overpass, Tull said.

Wright, who was behind Smith, collided with Smith's motorcycle and was also thrown from the ramp to the ground below, Tull said. Wright was taken to Baylor Medical Center in Irving, where he died of his injuries, and Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, the medical examiner's office reported.

L.D. Bell Principal Jim Bannister said administrators and counselors met early this morning to discuss the impact of the deaths on the Hurst high school. Counselors were ready to talk to grieving students, though only a couple had come in this morning, he said.

Most friends of Wright and Smith graduated last school year, Bannister said. But their deaths did have an impact on the teachers and administrators who knew them.

"We are deeply saddened by it all," Bannister said. "Both were affable and outgoing. They are just great kids. This is tragic. I ran into Derek last week and he was enjoying life and working in a movie theater in Grapevine. We're going to miss them."

Matt Frazier, 817-685-3854

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