Vigil conducted for Richland student who died in wreck

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Teenagers wept and hugged each other Wednesday night as those who knew Colin Parks spoke from a public-address system set up on pickup beds in the parking lot of Richland High School.

"Colin, rest in paradise," said Zach Johnson, 18, a Birdville High senior who was injured Tuesday in the wreck in which Parks, an 18-year-old Richland High senior, was killed.

Several at the evening vigil said Parks, a father-to-be with an easygoing manner and a passion for motorcycles, was one of the nicest young men they had ever met.

"He was down to earth," said Justin Whitlow, a Richland High sophomore. "He wasn't fake in any way. What you saw was what you got. You could not help but like him."

Teens gave Parks' family mementos of his interests, handing his mother a pool cue, a dirt bike sprocket and a motorcycle boot.

Then they gave her a cross that Whitlow crafted out of wood, barbed wire, a horseshoe and other materials.

"I want to tell you, this is all inspiring. This has warmed my heart so much. To know he touched so many lives, it makes me feel like I did something right," said Pamela O'Brien, Parks' mother.

Parks and Johnson were taking a construction technology class at the Birdville school district's Center of Technology and Advanced Learning. Parks was giving Johnson a lift to Birdville High about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday when he stopped for a traffic light at Mid-Cities and Davis boulevards in North Richland Hills.

Investigators are trying to determine the sequence of events, but it appeared that a Lincoln started a chain of collisions that pushed Parks' Mitsubishi and a box truck into the intersection where an 18-wheeler hit the truck, investigators have said. Two other vehicles carrying five Birdville students were also hit, police have said. Those students were not seriously hurt.

Parks was pronounced dead at the scene. Johnson was flown by helicopter ambulance to a hospital.

The driver of the Lincoln, a 28-year-old Watauga man, and the driver of the box truck, a 26-year-old Arlington woman, were also taken to hospitals.

Information on their conditions was not available, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

"Any charges in the case, if there will be any, won't be determined until the investigation is complete," North Richland Hills investigator Keith Bauman said Wednesday. "That could take a few days or a few weeks."

The wreck happened about halfway between the technology center and Birdville High. Both campuses are on Mid-Cities Boulevard.

Students are raising donations for Parks' family -- nearly $1,000 was raised Wednesday -- and collecting baby supplies for his pregnant girlfriend, said Marissa Jones, 18, a Richland High senior.

A Birdville school board meeting Wednesday afternoon began with a moment of silence. School officials said they would seek the family's permission to honor Parks with an engraved nameplate on a seat in the W.G. Thomas Coliseum.

School board President Joe Tolbert noted that Birdville is a close-knit community in part because each high school draws from different cities in the district. So students get to know classmates from neighboring cities.

Birdville Superintendent Stephen Waddell concurred: "We compete in a friendly way, but when it comes to supporting each other and consoling one another, we pull together."

Staff writer Domingo Ramirez Jr. contributed to this report.

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