By VERONICA GORDON
The staff, students and friends of Barton Middle Schooler Samuel Scott Courtney are mourning the death of the 11-year-old boy after a weekend wreck near the city of Shepherd claimed his life.
The Lufkin Daily News reported early Monday morning that Samuel and his family were involved in an accident at about 3:54 a.m. Sunday. According to the article, Samuel was pronounced dead following a two-vehicle accident on U.S. 59 south, near Farm to Market Road 223.
Lufkin Department of Public Safety officials confirmed that the driver of a 2002 VW Passat, Edgardo Alvarado-Camacho, of Iowa, was traveling northbound in the southbound lane of US Highway 59. Samuel and his family were traveling in the southbound lane as the VW approached and struck their vehicle, causing their van to leave the road.
The driver of the van, Robert Gossett Jr., was transported to the hospital in good condition with cuts and bruises. Passenger Brian Courtney was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition. Samuel was pronounced dead at 4:35 a.m. on the way to the hospital. According to the accident report, all of the victims had been wearing their seat belts.
The Lufkin newspaper also reported that Alvarado-Camacho was charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
A letter sent home with Barton and Negley students Monday afternoon offered condolences from the administration.
“I’m saddened to report to you the death of one of our former students, Samuel Scott Courtney … “ said Principal Will Webber. “… Samuel was a student at Negley from kindergarten through 5th grade and had been attending Barton Middle School this year. His younger brother Ryan is a current second grader at Negley. Many of our students know Ryan and remember Samuel. Hearing the news of Samuel’s death will be upsetting.”
“If your child shares information with you about this experience, please take time to talk with them,” the letter advised. “It is important for children to have their feelings acknowledged and to help them understand that it is okay to feel sad or cry. Because our school is like a family, we share happy and sad times. If you feel your child needs counseling services, or just to talk with someone further about this experience, please contact me or a member of my staff. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
More information about the accident will be updated as soon as it becomes available.