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Texas youth killed in SUV rollover accident


An 11-year-old boy from the Highland church, Abilene, Texas, was killed Jan. 16 when the Suburban he was riding in overturned.
Brody Bret Bourland and six other youths were returning from Winterfest Arlington, a youth event in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, when the accident happened east of Baird, Texas.
Bourland was declared dead at the scene, and the vehicle’s other occupants were transferred to hospitals in Fort Worth and Abilene.
About 500 people attended a vigil at the Highland church just hours after the accident, church member Stormy Higgins told the Abilene Reporter-News. Higgins described the vigil as “overwhelmingly emotional.”
“(This) is not what (church members) got up this morning expecting,” Higgins said.
The accident happened at 2:45 p.m. as the group was heading west on I-20 about 1.5 miles west of Putnam, Texas, according to the Department of Public Safety in Abilene.
The 2004 GMC Suburban, driven by Julie Folwell, 49, of Abilene, apparently drifted into the center median, then overcorrected to the right, causing the vehicle to skid sideways before rolling over onto its top. Each of the vehicle’s occupants was wearing a seat belt.
Two of the children – Jon Westin Bennett and Austin Lemmons, both 11 – were flown by helicopter to a hospital in Fort Worth. The remaining occupants were taken to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. They are Chris Cope, 12; Beth Johnston, 14; Amara Childers, 14; Chris Perkins, 12; and Folwell.
Jackie Halstead, Highland church member and licensed therapist, provided counseling after the accident.
Two wrecks involving vehicles transporting church youths were reported in 2004. Ten people were injured June 6 when a van from the Memorial Road church, Oklahoma City, rolled multiple times on Interstate 44 in southwest Missouri. A tread separated from one of the van’s rear wheels, causing the wreck.
A van carrying nine youths home from a church retreat in York, Neb., crashed near Hamburg in southwest Iowa June 26, causing several severe injuries.
Funeral services for Bourland were Jan. 19 at the Highland church. The Cedar Creek Little League is accepting donations for the Brody Bourland Memorial Scholarship, to be given to students who need help paying dues to play baseball. Send donations to the league in care of AG Edwards, 401 Cypress St. Suite 100, Abilene, TX 79601.

Filed under: Archives Staff Reports

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