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Wayne High School student killed in crash

WAYNE — A Wayne High School student has died and an elementary student is hospitalized after a fatal two-vehicle crash on the W.Va. 152 "all-day" curve between Wayne and Lavalette.

The morning crash involved an SUV and semi-truck near Sam's Gun and Pawn.

Colt Adams, a 16-year-old sophomore at Wayne High School, was driving an SUV with his younger sister also in the vehicle when he collided with a semi-truck in the opposite lane. According to Wayne County Sheriffs deputies, Adams was pronounced dead when authorities arrived at around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

W.Va. 152 remained closed and traffic was diverted for much of the afternoon while authorities reconstructed the scene. Deputies say the semi-truck being locked into gear caused a longer delay in clearing the scene. Details about how the crash happened were unavailable as of press time Tuesday.

Adams was a tight end and linebacker on the Pioneers' football team and landed on the All-Cardinal Conference first-team with several of his teammates last season. He also played basketball at Wayne.

"Colt's passing has torn the heart out of everyone. He was such a great up-and-coming young man. His ear-to-ear smile and commitment to his teammates is not something that will go away. It will live on through his buddies," Wayne football coach Tom Harmon told The Herald-Dispatch via text message. "We spend a lot of time together, so it's a hard

life lesson for everyone. In these times you have to trust God's plan and honor him by holding those you love tighter.

"Our prayers and love are with his family."

Activities and assemblies at both Wayne High School and Wayne Elementary School were affected by the crash. Awards ceremonies at Wayne Elementary School were postponed and field trips for the day were canceled. Those ceremonies will now take place Tuesday, June 4. Wayne High School moved its graduation practice to later in the afternoon Tuesday.

"The Wayne County Schools family and community is just devastated to learn of the loss of one of our students and knowing that another one was injured. The mother of the two students involved is an employee of ours, and being so close to the situation has been heartbreaking," Wayne County Schools Superintendent Todd Alexander said. "We want to be respectful of the family at this time but offer our thoughts and prayers to them."

A prayer service and tribute will take place at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at Wayne United Methodist Church, 615 Cleveland St.

Spring Valley graduates poised for the real world
217 seniors earned collective $2M-plus in scholarships

HUNTINGTON — Graduating from high school tends to be one of those life moments that seemingly sneak up out of the normalcy of a young adult's life.

Those final school days leading up to it are cast with virtually the same routine since kindergarten — the life they've come of age with, and the only life they've ever known. Then suddenly — in a flash of pomp and circumstance — it's over and countless new

doors suddenly swing open.

For the 217 graduating seniors in Spring Valley High School's Class of 2019, that turning point came and went Tuesday night at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.

But they'll be just fine in the real world, Principal Tammy Forbush said, and that's evident by their achievements so far. The Class of 2019 secured more than $2 million worth of total scholarships, with a handful of individual graduates earning more than $100,000 toward school themselves.

"We're proud of them — we really are," Forbush said. "And anybody who has a worry about Wayne County schools or Spring Valley, this is what says it all in the end."

Suddenly, there they all were in caps and gowns. It felt like yesterday they were all clueless freshmen, graduate Meagan Camden said, now poised to cross the stage.

The Kenova native won't be traveling too far this fall, opting to play volleyball at Marshall University — a sweet experience, having grown up a Herd fan.

And while many will likely join her on campus in Huntington, there will inevitably be a great number she'll rarely, if ever, cross paths with again.

"It's kind of sad, but at the same time it's humbling to realize that we're to this point and we're about to move on to our own paths," Camden said. "It's a good thing. Even though it's sad, it's a good thing."

Hunter Donahoe, of Huntington, will head north to Morgantown this fall to attend West Virginia University, majoring in biomedical engineering. It's bittersweet and a bit surreal to finally be at the big moment, he agreed, but added it's time for something new beyond high school.

"It's a little overwhelming because there are so many unopened doors I haven't gotten to go through yet, but it's a lot of excitement because I'm ready to go to college and make a change and do something different," Donahoe said.

The week is filled with graduations in the West Virginia part of the Tri-State. Wayne High School will graduate Wednesday, May 29, at Pioneer Field in Wayne. Cabell Midland will host the region's largest graduation Thursday, May 30, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, followed by Huntington High on Friday, May 31, at the same location.

City police launch probe into homicide

HUNTINGTON — The Huntington Police Department is investigating a homicide after a dead man was dropped off at an area hospital early Tuesday.

According to Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial, at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday a couple of individuals dropped Antonio Pierre George, 28, of Detroit, off at Cabell Huntington Hospital. George was already dead from gunshot wounds when he arrived.

George is well known to Huntington police, Dial said.

Dial said police believe the shooting occurred outside near 18th Street and Artisan Avenue in Huntington because shell casings were found in the area, but he did not disclose any further information.

Detectives are investigating the shooting, but Dial had no additional comment about possible suspects or witnesses.

This marks at least the second criminal homicide investigation in Huntington in 2019.

Teen graduates drug court; HHS next

HUNTINGTON — When she got pulled over with less than a gram of marijuana in her purse over a year ago, Krissa Kazee was being homeschooled, but she was behind and was using the drug to cope with anxiety.

The simple possession charge placed her on probation, but when she refused to stop smoking, she landed in Cabell County Juvenile Drug Court.

Less than a year later, Kazee, now 18, completed both 11th and 12th grades, will graduate from Huntington High School on Friday, May 31, and on Tuesday made history as the first teen to graduate from drug court since the program was revived last year.

"It's been a long journey," Kazee said. "There are a lot of people there to help you, but it's not easy. You don't get away with anything. They know everything. But I'm glad they were there because if

not, I probably wouldn't be in the place I am now."

Kazee said she was using marijuana because of peer pressure and to help her sleep and manage her anxiety. Drug court taught her how to manage her anxiety without the use of drugs, she said.

"It might just be marijuana," Kazee said, "but it can set you back a lot. It can get you off track."

Cabell County was one of the first counties in the state to have a juvenile drug court in the early 2000s, but the program puttered out, then was restarted, then puttered out again. Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Greg Howard worked to get the program running again.

"You are paving the way for more success stories," Howard told Kazee.

Cabell County Family Court Judge Jason Spears, who oversees the juvenile court, said there are currently eight other teens in the program. He said oftentimes they are realizing addiction is not the problem, but instead it's current trauma, like the loss of a parent to an overdose or some sort of abuse.

When asked if she had advice for those in the program or facing it, Kazee said not to lie, as they always find the truth, which was evident by the fact her probation officer returned three phones confiscated from Kazee during the duration of the program.

"They really are here to help you, even if it doesn't feel like it," she said. "It might feel like they are piling up on you, but they want to help."

After walking across the stage Friday to receive her high school diploma, Kazee said she hopes to study phlebotomy with the goal of eventually becoming a nurse. She said she has always wanted to help people, but it was the time she spent caring for her mother who died two years ago of cancer that is her real motivation.

Along with family, the drug court treatment team and other supporters, West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Evan Jenkins and state director of drug courts Nick Leftwich were in attendance for Kazee's graduation.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.