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May 29, 2014

Rusk student dies after fall from 4-wheeler

RUSK — A 15-year-old Rusk High School student died Saturday night from injuries suffered in a fall from a 4-wheeler in Anderson County.

Keith Conway Padgett, 15, of Rusk, died at a Tyler hospital Saturday night after being life-flighted from Palestine Regional Medical Center.

According to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor, a deputy was dispatched to the emergency room at Palestine Regional Medical Center around 9:30 p.m. Saturday in reference to the incident.

The sheriff said the accident happened on Anderson County Road 355, toward Neches.

“He, a 15-year-old boy, was lift-flighted to Tyler and he expired there,” Taylor said.

“Unfortunately, he died.”

The sheriff said a Tyler Justice of the Peace pronounced Padgett dead and did not order an autopsy.

Brian Chason is investigating the incident for the ACSO.

Padgett was a member of the football and golf teams at Rusk High School, according to an official at the school.

“Keith played freshman football and junior varsity golf here at Rusk,” said Rusk High School Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Ted Patton. “He was a great kid, a hard worker and someone that had really worked hard in our off-season (football) program. Keith also did a good job playing JV golf for coach (Joey) Renner.”

According to Patton, Rusk High School students took the news of Padgett's death hard.

“This was hard for a lot of our students, particularly those that knew Keith well, to cope with,” Patton said. “For some of our younger kids this was the first time that they have had to deal with someone that they knew passing away.

“Our staff and counselors have done a great job in working with our students and they have really helped them in dealing with this tragedy,” Patton added.

A memorial service for Padgett was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at the First Baptist Church in Rusk.

“I think our students are really wanting to come together and help each other get through this while at the same time honoring Keith's memory,” Patton said.

Funeral arrangements for Padgett, who turned 15 on May 17, are under the direction of Wallace-Thompson Funeral Home in Rusk.

Padgett, according to his family, loved golf, fishing and the outdoors.

Memorials in his memory may be made to Birmingham Golf Course, 875 Copeland St., Rusk, Texas 75785.

Jay Neal of the Jacksonville Daily Progress contributed to this story.

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