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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kansas troopers to honor teen who helped crash victim

BY HURST LAVIANA
The Wichita Eagle

Summer White remembers most of what happened the night of June 12 on the Kansas Turnpike.

She was headed back to her home in Edmond, Okla., after working at a horse show at the Kansas Coliseum.

She and the two other teenage groomers she was with drove up to an accident south of Mulvane about 10:30 p.m.

As the pickup she was in pulled over, Summer could see that a woman who had been hurt in the accident was lying on the highway.

"She was laying almost exactly in the middle of the road," White said Saturday. "I knew if she didn't get out of the way, she was going to get run over."

White, 17 at the time, instinctively dashed to the woman's side. She tried desperately to pull her to safety.

"All I could think of was that there were cars coming, and I had to get her out of the road. I didn't want her to get hit.

"I grabbed onto her, and I was trying to pull her out of the way. ... I don't remember anything after I got hit by the car."

White was seriously hurt, and the woman she was trying to help — a 32-year-old from Texas — later died.

But for her actions that night, the Kansas Highway Patrol will honor White on Thursday with a Good Samaritan award in a ceremony in Wichita. One of White's friends and co-workers, Michela Creel, also will receive an award.

Investigators said the initial crash occurred when an Impala driven by a 15-year-old boy drifted off the road and struck a Ford Explorer that was parked at the side of the highway. The impact knocked the Impala back onto the roadway.

As White was trying to pull the woman to safety, a U-Haul truck crashed into the Impala, which then struck White and the woman. The woman, the mother of the boy driving the Impala, later died at a Wichita hospital.

White ended up with a broken clavicle, a broken scapula, a broken wrist and spinal injuries.

Her mother, Shannon White, said Summer is still sore but has recovered enough that she was able to attend a horse show in Tulsa this weekend.

Shannon White said she's learned a lot about her daughter from the experience.

"I've told her, 'I wish that you hadn't done that, but I'm so proud that you did," she said.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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