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Students remember 7-year-old Chance Konkler killed in crash
PORT ARTHUR- by Haley Bull
Students and staff at DeQueen Elementary School in Port Arthur are remembering a classmate and friend, 7-year old Chance Konkler.
The child died Thursday morning following a wreck at 4th Ave. and Gulfway Dr. in Port Arthur. Police said his 36-year old mother lost control of her pick-up truck on 4th Ave. It rolled across a parking lot and into Gulfway Dr. The truck hit a car traveling east.
Investigators said the impact ejected the young boy from the vehicle. Police believe Chance wasn't wearing a seat belt. The 7-year old died at a hospital from his injuries.
His mother was flown in a medical helicopter to Christus Hospital St.Elizabeth. Officers said her injuries are not life-threatening. Police are investigating what happened as a possible intoxication manslaughter case against the mother.
Grief counselors were on hand for students and staff Friday at DeQueen Elementary, and will be throughout next week Students and staff at Chance Konkler's school remembered him.
"It began to set in that we were losing one of our family members," Principal Jerry Gloston said.
Behind the school's doors, the hallways are filled with one less student.
"He's one of those kids that as soon as he walks in the room, energetic, ready to go, ready to learn, ready for the day," Konkler's teacher, Elexsia Roberts said.
Inside a classroom, a first-grader's desk is empty.
"It's right by the door and I look at it and I don't want anyone to move it, you know, it's gonna remain there the rest of the year," Roberts said.
It's a reminder of Chance Konkler.
"Anybody that Chance was in touch with, he brought joy to. He was just that kind of young man, he had that type of personality," Gloston said.
The young life is remembered in letters and pictures.
"Right now with the counselor's guidance they have worked on writing and expressing some of their thoughts and drawing you know a heart, in memory of Chance," Gloston said.
The memory of the smiling child is something students and staff are holding onto.
"We're going to keep that beautiful smile in mind and his memory, his wonderful memory," Gloston said.
A child who had an entire lifetime ahead of him.
"He told me, he said, Ms. Roberts, when I grow up I want to be a police officer or firefighter. I said that's good, why Chance? He said because I want to save the world," Roberts said.
The world at DeQueen Elementary now has one less student. A classmate and friend held close to their hearts.
PAISD Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie issued this statement:
"On behalf of the entire PAISD family, we mourn the loss of yet another of our students, Chance Konkler, a first grader at DeQueen Elementary. We will continue to support the family of Chance and keep him close to our hearts and in our thoughts and prayers."
Earlier this year, Tyvone Washington, 10, died when a car struck him while he was crossing a highway near Central Mall. He attended Washington Elementary.
The school honored him with a balloon release. DeQueen Elementary will hold a similar balloon release for Chance. Staff are working on scheduling a date and time.