BOONE COUNTY — The Boone County Sheriff's Office on Friday released its findings in a now-closed investigation into a September 2021 crash that led to the deaths of two teenagers and injured four others.
Officials say several factors played a role in the crash, including high speed, failure to use headlights when required, disregarding a stop sign, a lack of knowledge of the area, and driver impairment from THC.
"This is clearly a heartbreaking tragedy for everyone involved. We have been completely transparent to everyone during this investigation. Losing a child is absolutely devastating. The Boone County Sheriff's Office has investigated and presented factual evidence of what occurred the night leading up to the crash, during the crash, and following the crash," Boone County Sheriff Michael Nielsen said in a statement.
The crash resulted in the deaths of the 14-year-old driver, Nazire Parks, 14, and the 13-year-old front passenger, Kamyla Young. Four other people — two 12-year-olds, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old — were injured and taken to area hospitals.
It happened around 5:30 a.m. Sept. 13, 2021, on State Road 32 near County Road 650 East, police said. The driver was fleeing in a police chase that started in Lawrence.
Boone County Sheriff Michael T. Nielsen said the chase was terminated somewhere on Interstate 65. No Boone County deputies were involved in the chase.
The Boone County Sheriff's Office Lawrence Police were in a pursuit with a Kia Soul for about 15 minutes at approximately 4 a.m. the day of the crash.
At 4:23 a.m., the Boone County Communications Center received a call about a vehicle accident. A deputy found Lawrence Police Officers attempting to render aid to the six juveniles in the Kia, which had hit a tree head-on.
LPD Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff said Lawrence officers weren't in an "active pursuit" when the crash occurred.
"It is not the investigators or this office's responsibility to review policy or protocol from any other agency. Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to the parents and to the family of the children involved in this crash as well as to the officers involved in the investigation," Nielsen said.
WRTV Digital Content Producer Andrew Smith contributed to this report.