Football star, 15, dies after tree falls on him during severe storm

South Carolina high school football star Evan Kinley, 15, dies in freak accident after tree fell on him while he exited his car to check in on grandparents during severe storm

  • Teen footballer Evan Kinley died after a tree fell on him during a severe storm 
  • The young volunteer firefighter was checking on his grandparents when he was hit by the felled tree
  • The couple were the first to find his body, and struggled in vain to lift the tree off of him

A high school football star has died after being struck by a tree outside his grandparents’ house during severe storms. 

Evan Kinley, a 15-year-old from Anderson, South Carolina, was getting out of his car when a tree uprooted and fell on him near the garage of the property. 

The T.L. Hanna sophomore student had pulled up to the home on Arnold Drive near Kings road around 5pm on Monday. 

His horrified grandparents were the first to discover Evan after the tree had tipped. The couple did everything they could to get him out from underneath, but it was too heavy for them to lift. 

Evan Kinley is being remembered as a star football player for his high school team 

The 15-year-old sophomore student stopped by to see his grandparents during severe storms 

A tree uprooted and fell on top of him as he was getting out of the car  

Their cherished grandson was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The coroner has ruled the student’s death accidental, resulting from severe weather.

Evan was a valued volunteer firefighter at the Broadway Fire Department 

He is remembered as an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and cars. 

Evan was also a volunteer junior firefighter with Broadway Fire Department and star of the T.L. Hanna football program, playing offensive guard for the high school team. 

The team’s head football coach Hanna Jason Tone said Evan had a ‘can-do’ attitude and was positive to be around. 

‘He just always had a smile on his face. He showed up every day to work, was a great teammate, very energetic (and) fun to be around and he had a lot of friends on the team.’ 

Rescue crews were at the scene on Arnold Drive near Kings around 5pm Monday 

An area has been taped off outside the grandparents home

Evan was known for his love of outdoor sports, fishing and cars 

A Broadway Fire Department post said: ‘Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. 

‘The next few days are going to be rough on them. Evan was a great kid.

‘He was a Junior Firefighter with us and we were really looking forward to having him in the future. He’ll definitely be missed. Rest in peace our young friend. Gone too soon.’ 

Volunteer firefighter Kim Strickland said Evan’s loss was a heavy weight to bear for many. 

‘We didn’t lose a 15-year-old, we didn’t lose Evan, we lost a family member,’ they told WYFF. 

Charles Howell, another volunteer at Broadway Fire Department, added: ‘We’re brothers and sisters and this fire department, there will be a void because the smile when he walked in just changed the room.’ 

Broadway Fire Department’s Chief David Burnette said Kinley was a valued young man. 

‘It’s hard to say enough good about him and I never will be able to say enough to make him shine the way he should, to be honest with you.

‘You had to know him, but if you knew him, you liked him.’ 

Superintendent Brenda Kelley of Anderson School District 5 alerted parents to the tragedy in an email. 

‘Anderson Five family, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that tonight, Evan Kinley, a tenth-grade student at TL Hanna High School was tragically killed during the thunderstorms,’ she wrote.  

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time, and additional support staff members will serve at TL Hanna tomorrow to help students and staff process this tragedy. 

‘Words never seem to convey comfort during a time like this, but please take a moment to remember why we are in the roles that we are, and please keep Evan, his family, and the TLH students, faculty, and staff in mind as you go about your day tomorrow. 

‘As the district learns more information about arrangements, we will be sure to send that information out accordingly.’

A service will be held for Evan on Saturday, August 12.  

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