Teen who survived fatal Lyon Co. crash Saturday that killed three friends recounts the tragedy

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 5:01 PM CDT
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EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) - Three teenagers were killed when their car went off a Lyon County road and into the Cottonwood River last night, one passenger survived.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says they found 15-year old Ashley Edwards walking down the road.

Edwards told 13 NEWS that she was hanging out with three of her friends driving around like any other ordinary Saturday night but that quickly turned into a tragedy.

Edwards said she and her friends were on their way back into town when they lost control of their vehicle.

“I was changing the song and I look up and BOOM there’s a tree, we were coming around this curve and we lost control of the car and we hit the tree and I just remember flipping and my head hit and then I landed in the water,” Edwards said.

Just before 6:30 on Saturday night, someone called the police when they saw Ashley walking, hurt, in the 800 block of Road 147- which is about five miles southwest of Emporia.

That led them to the car which was past a line of trees and submerged in the Cottonwood River.

“They were all underwater and I felt all of the moving and I was just trying to find a way to breathe and stuff and I was about the give up but I just kept fighting,” she said.

Ashley’s mom, Tiffany, visited the scene Sunday with her daughter. She says she’ll never forget the phone call.

“I was sitting in the backyard and I get a call from a number and I don’t want to answer it because I don’t answer random calls, but something was telling me to answer it and during this time you still hear sirens and so I picked up,” Tiffany King said.

Responders told Tiffany they were taking Ashley to a nearby hospital and that she wanted to speak with her mom, and her daughter’s words left her speechless.

“She gets on the phone and she said, “Mom they’re gone, I’m freaking out I don’t know what happened,”.

Her tears represented relief that her daughter is alive, but sadness that she is the only survivor.

Ashley’s friends, Chase Luby, 17, Paxton Luby, 13, and Shelby Phoenix, 17 were killed.

Ashley’s aunt, TyRisha McCormick says the town of Emporia has lost three beautiful souls.

”And to know that three people were killed and two of them being brother and sister and their mom lost their kids just hours before Mother’s Day, It just touches me because that could’ve been anybody,” McCormick said.

“I just wanted them to be found because if I would’ve been dead no one would have found us and we just would have been a missing person report,” said Edwards.

Edwards was transported to a local hospital due to her injuries.

She says she knew her friends weren’t going to make it.

“I just wanted to get them out of the river because I knew they weren’t going to make it out alive,” said Edwards.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s office says the cause of the crash is under investigation.

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