BASEHOR, Kan. - The Basehor-Linwood school community had counselors on hand Wednesday to help its students and staff cope with the loss of one of their own.
Fifteen-year-old Shealyn Hayes was a freshman at BLHS. The school said her brother Tristan is still in the hospital after they were involved in an accident on 24/40 Highway near 166th Street in Leavenworth County Tuesday morning.
The halls of Basehor-Linwood were somber Wednesday. Students are coping with the loss of their friend and classmate by wearing purple. It was Shea's favorite color.
"Always had a smile on her face," BLHS girls' soccer coach, Derek Mazeitis said.
When Mazeitis heard about Shea, he wasn't sure if the team would want to finish out the season.
"It's a sad, sad day. I know the teams taking it really hard," he said.
The freshman was riding with her older brother north on 166th St. in Basehor, while trying to cross 24-40 Highway. They collided with a semi-truck. A roadside memorial is now displayed, remembering Shea.
"We've seen a lot of accidents at that intersection," Basehor Police Chief Lloyd Martley said.
Chief Martley has been with the department for 17 years. As Basehor and Tonganoxie grow, he said more traffic flows along U24-40 highway and fast.
"It's easy for people to misjudge the speeds when they're trying to cross and there's no signal lane."
Martley says most accidents crossing here involve younger, inexperienced drivers. He said when he responds to calls on the highway between Basehor and Tonganoxie, he knows it will probably be a bad one, even though the speed limit is 65, Martley said drivers push 70 and 75 mph.
"When we do get calls to 24/40, they're serious because of the speed involved," he said.
"We always ask our students to cross over make sure they go to 155th or 158th," BLHS principal Sherry Reeves said. Basehor-Linwood High School has past history with its students getting into accidents crossing that highway.
Traffic lights at 158th were just put up in August; just weeks before the school year a Tonganoxie teacher was killed crossing 24/40.
Principal Reeves had to break the news to Basehor-Linwood High School that Shea would not be walking back through the doors of the school.
But the Basehor-Linwood is like one big family, pulling together to get through this for Shea.
"They want to take a break, but then they want to play for her," Coach Mazeitis said about the team of girls' who must now play without their friend Shea.
"Shealyn was extremely well liked by her classmates and active in numerous activities at Basehor-Linwood High School," district spokeswoman Ashley Razak said in a statement. "Her presence will be greatly missed."
The Kansas Highway Patrol reports Shealyn's brother Tristan was heading north on 166th when he failed to yield to a semi-truck heading west on U24/40. Shealyn died as a result of her injuries; the school says Tristan remains in the hospital.
"District counselors are available to all students and staff as we deal with this tragedy," Razak said. "Our entire school community has been affected deeply by this loss and our thoughts, and prayers are with Shealyn's family and friends at this time."