Pratt High School football players were gathering together Saturday afternoon after one of their teammates died in a two-vehicle crash.
Drake Evert, 16, died early Saturday when he crashed into a semi truck on K-61 near the south city limits of Preston in Pratt County, a Kansas Highway Patrol report said.
The accident happened about 6:38 a.m. Saturday. Evert was northbound on the highway in a 2000 Pontiac GrandAm when he crossed the highway’s center line and struck a semi truck. Both vehicles ended up in ditches.
Emergency workers transported the 55-year-old driver of the truck, Robert Myerski, of Pennsylvania, to Pratt Regional Medical Center, the report said. The hospital would not release Myerski’s condition on Saturday afternoon.
Evert, who was entering his junior year at Pratt High School, helped lead the school to the Class 4A baseball tournament in the spring and played for the Greenbacks' football team.
“The kids are obviously stunned,” said football coach Jamie Cruce. “He was set to be our quarterback.”
Cruce said a team gathering was planned to help students cope with Evert’s death. The school counselor was also planning to be at the team gathering.
“They need as many ears and people to listen to them as they can get,” Cruce said.
Cruce is new to the school but had known Evert for a few months.
“He was a real bright kid,” he said. “He was a real popular kid.”
Evert was talented in baseball and football and energetic like most teenagers, Cruce said.
“It’s terrible news,” he said.
The crash is still under investigation. That portion of the highway was closed for a few hours Saturday but reopened about 2 p.m.