Archive for Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Basehor youth dies in car wreck

September 12, 2001

A 16-year-old Basehor boy who had been missing for two days was found dead Monday, Sept. 10, in a field adjacent to Parallel Parkway near 164th Street.

Marshall Norris was killed in what authorities described as a single-vehicle wreck along the stretch of road where the youth's body was found.

"It appears that only one vehicle was involved," said Maj. Dave Zoellner, with the Leavenworth Sheriff's Office. "But it's too early to say what exactly happened."

Norris had been missing since Saturday night, family members said. He had been visiting his girlfriend in the Bonner Springs area Saturday, but never returned home.

Norris's family had contacted television stations and were in process of placing a missing-person ads in local newspapers Monday when passersby found the boy's body about 2:45 p.m. and reported it to police.

"A Basehor police officer went down and located the body," Zoellner said.

However, neither the officer nor sheriff's deputies who arrived later at the scene saw the Eagle Talon that Norris was last seen driving.

"I was told that he was driving his girlfriend's car," Zoellner said.

The car was found about 30 feet off the south side of Parallel, turned on its side amongst a group of trees.

Zoellner said the car was hidden because it had struck a tree, which broke at impact and then fell on top of the vehicle.

According to results of the initial investigation, the car was westbound on Parallel when it left the roadway and traveled about 400 feet before striking the tree. It appears Norris was thrown about 100 feet from vehicle, coming to rest in a tall, grassy area of the field.

Investigators have not determined what caused the vehicle to leave the roadway.

Diana Tuttle, who lives about a half block from the scene, traveled twice down Parallel Monday and didn't see anything.

"I drove by here twice today and I had no idea," she said. "It's very sad. It's also frightening."

Norris was a junior at Basehor-Linwood High School and was actively involved in sports.

BLHS Principal Bill Hatfield said the news of the accident sent a shock wave through the school.

"It's a tragedy for sure," Hatfield said. "It appears that he had several good friends at the school. You certainly hate to see something like this happen to a young person and his family."

Hatfield said crisis counselors were made available for students at the school throughout the days following Norris' death.

Norris was a member of the high school wrestling team. BLHS wrestling coach Scott Neal had known Norris for four years and said he would be missed.

"You never are ready for something like this to happen and it should never happen to a kid like this, but I guess the Lord thought it was Marshall's time," Neal said.

Neal said the atmosphere of the school was solemn in the day after Norris' death. He said the pain of the loss could be witnessed on the faces of the upperclassmen.

Neal had not yet spoken to all of the members of the wrestling team, but expected to in the next few days.

"I don't think a lot of people understood Marshall," Neal said. "I think they thought he was kind of a rebel, but he was a good kid and good teammate."

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