More young lives ended before they began

By Jamie Nash and Dalton Lee Gregory

Tragedy struck a nearby community over the weekend, mirroring the accident that left Conroe High School devastated a week earlier. Another similar wreck occurred days before the Conroe crash.

Just before 3 a.m. on Sunday, firefighters in Tarkington, which is southeast of Cleveland, responded to a one-vehicle crash on County Road 2291 where they found an eerily familiar scene.

A teenage driver had lost control of his Oldsmobile Intrigue for unknown reasons and struck a tree at a high rate of speed, partially ejecting him and his teen passenger, according to Assistant Chief Dalton Lee Gregory with the Tarkington Volunteer Fire Department.

Jesse Stuart Dubose, 19, who graduated from Tarkington High School on Friday night, was already deceased. The crash occurred less than two miles from his home. His passenger and classmate, 19-year-old Steven Dill was critically injured. Both remained trapped in the twisted wreckage.

Gregory called for a medical helicopter and firefighters extricated the victims using the “Jaws of Life.” A City of Cleveland ambulance transported Dill to a landing zone where he was flown by air ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. A short time later, Dill also died.

Both teens were present for Tarkington VFD’s “Forever Changed” program, which simulates a major car accident with students playing the victims. Some of the student actors were partially ejected. One was removed by ambulance to a waiting medical helicopter and students watched as it lifted off and flew away, before watching two classmates loaded into a hearse. That program was presented just 27 days before two of the students would be in the real life version.
A similar tragedy occurred in Conroe the previous weekend, when a pair of best friends, scheduled to graduate in one week, left the roadway and struck a tree. CHS football star Jordan Wilson, 17, was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver, fellow CHS senior football player Johnnie O’Neal, 18, survived the crash with non-life threatening injuries and now faces serious charges.

On May 20, three days prior to the Conroe wreck, Navasota High School sophomore Kourtney Marie Horton, 16, died from injuries received as a passenger in a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix after the 19-year-old driver lost control for unknown reasons, leaving the roadway and traveling through a ditch and fence before striking two trees. Horton and a second passenger were ejected. Charges are now pending against 19-year-old Clinton B. Theiss, Jr. of Waller.

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