It wasn’t until Nov. 2 that Eric Voss of Concordia learned his 15-year-old daughter Kyra Lynn never wore her seatbelt unless she was riding with her parents. That was the day he learned Kyra was seriously injured in a one-car rollover accident. She died one and a half days later from massive brain swelling.
The emotional Voss presented a slide show and told the story of Kyra’s life and death to Centre High School students Monday after a simulated car crash rescue operation.
Voss is Concordia’s fire chief and responded to the accident scene, only to learn the victim was his own daughter.
He urged students to wear seatbelts. He thought Kyra might have swerved to avoid a deer and lost control trying to correct. He said she was ejected through the car’s front window, and a seatbelt might have saved her life.
Kansas State Highway Patrolman Ben Gardner, commonly known as Trooper Ben, shared with students the difficulty of giving a death notice to relatives.
“It’s my sad responsibility to inform you that,” he tells them, and then goes on to break the terrible news.
“It changes their world,” he said. “It’s devastating.”
He said sometimes they break down and cry, sometimes they are just silent, or sometimes they yell, scream, and get angry.
He urged students to wear seatbelts.
“The law says you must, but it’s still up to you to do it,” he said.
He compared it to his wearing a bulletproof vest.
“You have to be prepared for anything,” he said.
The trooper also emphasized the need to avoid distractions, especially talking on cell phones.
Emergency medical technician Jesse Brunner of Tampa led the program. Students Brandon Bina, Katie Marler, Summer Espinoza, and Alex Stika were in the crash demonstration. It was a head-on collision with one casualty.
Lost Springs and Lincolnville Fire Departments participated along with two Marion County ambulances with emergency medical workers, coroner JoAnn Knak, and undertaker Jared Jost of Hillsboro.