Community rallies to family of SME student severely injured in car crash

Posted at 6:43 PM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 19:43:23-05

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — Students at Shawnee Mission East High School are struggling, knowing that these may be the final hours for one of their classmates.

Alex Carney was severely injured in a car crash last week. Carney, a sophomore and a passenger in the car, suffered severe brain injuries and has been in a coma ever since.

On Tuesday, Shawnee Mission East High School principal John McKinney said he's expected to be taken off life support. 

Carney’s family, through a spokesperson, provided updates on his recovery on Their journal entry on Monday was a somber one.

“This is not the update that I wanted to write. With a broken heart I have to share that Alex’s medical team has done everything they could for him. Unfortunately, the damage to Alex’s brain too extensive. Alex is not in any pain and is very peaceful. His family is here with him. The family is not up for visitors and would like to spend this time alone with Alex.”

The Nall Avenue Baptist Church held a prayer service for Carney Tuesday evening. 

A church employee told 41 Action News the pastor would not attend because he is at the hospital with Carney's family, who are expected to take the young man off life support.

This is a tragedy affecting a close-knit community.  

The more than 1,700 students at Shawnee Mission East High School rallied around the three families impacted by last week's violent crash just blocks away from their school.

"We're struggling right now. But we're working with our students to make sure that they feel safe and comforted,” John McKinney, Shawnee Mission East principal, said Tuesday.

On Tuesday, social workers and counselors worked to comfort Carney’s classmates.

“You sit next to him, every day you're in classes every day, you go to pep assemblies with them every day, so there's a real unique relationship and bond that is formed there and to have it suddenly come to end is really hard on young people. It's hard on adults but especially hard on teenagers,” McKinney told 41 Action News over the phone. 

Since the crash the community has shown an outpouring of support for the family.

Financially, two GoFundMe accounts have raised nearly $20,000 combined as of Tuesday afternoon.

Carney's classmates are also planning to hold a candlelight vigil at Jacob Loose Park Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.

"They feel compelled to do something until they do it's hard to kind of move on, from one stage of grief to the next."

There was another passenger in the car who remains hospitalized. The driver of the car wasn't seriously hurt.

Prairie Village Police said Tuesday speed was a factor but their investigation continues.