Elementary school boy dies in tragic bike-truck accident

A nine-year-old tow-headed third grader at Brady Elementary School, Will Long, died in a truck-dirt bike accident in north Brady late Monday afternoon. Brady Police Chief Tommy Payne said it was a horrible and tragic situation. Will and friend, Sladyn Howell, 8, had been riding their offroad vehicles at a lot when they decided to go around the block, according to Payne. They were headed south from Sladyn’s home , when Will’s dirt bike entered Belton Street, just north of Brady’s TxDOT building and about 200 yards west of U.S. Highway 377. A truck, driven by Jerry Flores of Brady, was approaching from the west heading to the highway. “Flores just lived about two blocks away,” the chief said. “He didn’t have a chance. The intersection was blocked by a house and high weeds. He didn’t see the dirt bike coming off the side street, and he couldn’t stop,” the chief said. Payne said that both the dirt bike and the ATM are not legal street vehicles. He also said that neither Will or Sladyn were wearing helmets. “I must stress that kids riding any type of bike or ATM must wear a helmet,” he said. McCulloch County Justice of the Peace Doris Bryson declared the youth dead at the scene of massive head injuries. Funeral services are pending at Leatherwood Memorial Chapels in Brady. Will and his friend had been visiting at Sladyn family’s resident prior to the accident, according to Brady Elementary School principal Kelley Hirt. She said that they left the home with Will on his two-wheeler and Sladyn on his four-wheel ATV. Will was leading and entered the intersection where the crash occurred. Sladyn, the son of Bryan and Glenda Howell, was not involved in the accident and was not injured. “Both boys had just been promoted to the third grade. We have five classes of second grade students,” Mrs. Hirt told the Standard-Herald this morning. She added that counselors will meet with the elementary students and others, if necessary, beginning at 10 a.m. today. Mrs. Hirt pointed out that only nine days before Monday’s accident that another elementary student, Trista Day, had been seriously injured in a bicycle-car mishap near the Boy Scout Lodge. She has returned home after a week’s stay in a San Angelo hospital. “She and Will were in the same grade, but not in the same class. However, they were in adjoining rooms,” she said. Mrs. Hirt said Will will be missed. “He was a little boy who loved life. He loved to play and be outdoors. Will was a friend of everyone including those in middle school and through high school,” she said. “We are going to miss him. He was the type of child that we will remember. He was so curious and outgoing. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone, but especially to three groups: the driver of the truck, the family that Will was visiting and Will’s family” Mrs. Hirt said.

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