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Winchester teen dies of injuries sustained in car crash

Mykal A. Barnes, 17, of Winchester, a George Rogers Clark High School football player has died one week after crashing his car on U.S. 60 in Clark County. Photo Courtesy George Rogers Clark High School
Mykal A. Barnes, 17, of Winchester, a George Rogers Clark High School football player has died one week after crashing his car on U.S. 60 in Clark County. Photo Courtesy George Rogers Clark High School

WINCHESTER — A George Rogers Clark High School football player died Monday, one week after crashing his car on U.S. 60 in Clark County.

Mykal A. Barnes, 17, of Winchester, was pronounced dead just before noon Monday at University of Kentucky Hospital.

The cause of death was listed as closed head injuries, according to the Fayette County coroner's office.

Mykal was a wide receiver and defensive back for the George Rogers Clark Cardinals.

Paul Columbia, the football coach and assistant principal at George Rogers Clark, remembered Mykal as a mannerly, personable young man. He said Mykal was active in his church and had hoped to receive an academic scholarship and play football in college.

Columbia said Mykal's mother, Susan Barnes of Winchester, did a good job of raising him.

Students had been gathering at the high school to pray for Mykal early each morning, Columbia said. On Monday evening, they gathered at Calvary Christian Church in Winchester to remember him.

Steve Crosby, the church's youth minister, is the former band director at George Rogers Clark.

The church opened its doors to students and families Sunday night and for several hours after school Monday. About 6:30 p.m. Monday, there were about 75 people there. Many students arrived wearing red handmade T-shirts with the number 8 — Mykal's football number — on them.

Those in attendance wrote messages about Mykal and posted them on a side wall of the sanctuary, while some students gathered near the center of the room next to Mykal's football jersey and helmet.

Shannon Cox, assistant coach and social studies teacher at the high school, said Mykal had natural leadership ability. Cox is also chairman of the Salvation Army in Winchester, and he said the teen volunteered as a bell-ringer "probably 20 hours last Christmas, because he knew I had slots not filled with volunteers."

The football team dedicated Friday's opening game to Mykal, beating Bryan Station, 46-18.

Mykal was taken to the hospital Aug. 15 after losing control of a 2005 Nissan Altima on a slick road and crashing into a rock wall, Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr. has said. The accident happened just after 9 p.m.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Monday night.

Columbia said friends hope to hold a benefit concert Sept. 12 to help Mykal's family with expenses.

In addition, members of the community have donated items for a raffle, with proceeds going to Mykal's family. A table will be set up at Wal-mart in Winchester on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donations of money will also be accepted.

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