Richland High senior killed in crash while driving between classes
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Colin Parks was a young father-to-be, planning a career as an electrician after he graduated from Richland High School in May.
To help land a job, the 18-year-old was taking a construction technology class at the Birdville school district's Center of Technology and Advanced Learning.
But Tuesday, Parks was killed and a Birdville High School student was seriously injured in a six-vehicle crash as they were returning to their home campuses after their class at the career center.
Parks, of North Richland Hills, died at North Hills Hospital, police said.
His passenger, Birdville High School senior Zach Johnson, was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, school district officials said. His condition was not available Tuesday evening.
Five other Birdville school district students were in two other vehicles involved in the crash but were not seriously injured, school officials said.
The wreck happened about halfway between the career center and Birdville High School, said Mark Thomas, a school district spokesman. Both campuses are on Mid-Cities Boulevard.
Parks, driving a white Mitsubishi, was giving Johnson a lift back to Birdville before returning to his own campus, when he stopped for a traffic light at Mid-Cities and Davis boulevards about 10:30 a.m.
A vehicle described as a Lincoln failed to stop and smashed into Parks' car and a box truck, North Richland Hills investigator Keith Bauman said Tuesday.
The impact thrust the truck into the intersection, where it collided with an 18-wheeler, Bauman said.
Two other vehicles carrying Birdville students were also hit in the chain-reaction crash, police said.
The driver of the Lincoln, who was not identified, and a fourth person were also taken to hospitals. Information on their conditions was not available, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
Birdville officials sent grief counselors to Richland and Birdville high schools shortly after the crash. Later Tuesday, stunned friends and relatives of Parks gathered at his mother's home in North Richland Hills, hugging and crying. Several described Parks as a good kid and a blessing to their family.
Parks was expecting a baby in January with his girlfriend, said Steven Shafer, Parks' stepfather.
Shafer also said Parks was a "pool shark" who could best adults at the game. "He had good hand-eye coordination, the best of any kid I've ever seen," he said.
Parks was also an avid fisherman who enjoyed all watersports and would join friends and relatives on outings to area lakes, particularly Possum Kingdom, Ray Roberts and Lewisville.
Shafer said he gave Parks his first dirt bike, a prized possession: "If he could, he'd have slept with it."
By midafternoon, Richland High classmates had created at least two Facebook pages in Parks' memory. Hundreds had logged on to the pages.
Birdville Superintendent Stephen Waddell sent a letter to families of high school students to tell them about the crash and Parks' death. "Words cannot adequately express my personal sorrow over the death of Colin," he wrote.
This is the second car crash this year in Tarrant County in which a high school student has died during school hours. Eric Trevino, a 16-year old junior at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth, died Dec. 3 in a multivehicle wreck as he was returning to campus.
Staff writer Chance Welch contributed to this report.
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