PARKSTON — A 15-year-old Parkston High School student has been identified the victim in a fatal, one-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon in Hutchinson County.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety said on Monday that Taylor Thuringer died in the Aug. 15 crash. Thuringer was set to be a freshman at Parkston High School this fall.
The Department of Public Safety said Thuringer was driving a 2003 Ford F150 pickup was northbound on 409th Avenue when she swerved to miss a mud hole in the road and lost control. The vehicle went into the ditch, rolled several times and caught fire. Thuringer died at the scene.
The three passengers, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the vehicle. All received life-threatening injuries. A 16-year-old male was transported to the Parkston hospital. The two other passengers, a 15-year-old female and a 14-year-old male, were eventually flown to Sioux Falls hospitals. All are from Parkston. The South Dakota Highway Patrol says it is still investigating the crash.
A funeral for Thuringer was held Monday at the Parkston National Guard Armory. An obituary published in The Daily Republic said she participated in volleyball, basketball, band and FCCLA and enjoyed spending time with friends and family, and "her infectious smile and bubbly personality will be missed by all who knew her."
Shayne McIntosh, superintendent of the Parkston School District, said the school has been providing counseling services to students and staff since last week.
“We’ve had counseling services available since last Thursday, and we will continue to do so,” McIntosh said.
While beginning a new school year is incredibly difficult under such circumstances, McIntosh said everyone is doing what they can to support their fellow students and Thuringer’s family.
“The kids have been awesome," McIntosh said. "They have been spending a lot of time together and with the family, and we’ll continue to monitor and provide counseling as needed."
McIntosh said school staff have met and discussed how to proceed with the first day of school and plan to be ready when students return to the classroom Tuesday.
“I think we’d be naive to think that it’s going to be a regular day. But, on Friday we met with staff and talked about how things could change dramatically from what our first day would be. We needed to think about what the day would look like,” McIntosh said. “So we took a few hours on Friday and did that.”