NAUGATUCK – A popular senior, who attends Tug Valley High School, Dustin “Dusty” Mills, was involved in a serious traffic accident this past Wednesday evening.
Mills was driving a 1998 Chevrolet Corvette in the Naugatuck area and said he suffered a fractured C-4 vertebrae, four broken ribs, several bruises and abrasions.
Both the Lenore and Kermit Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the scene. Mills had be be extracted from the vehicle by firefighters.
Mills was a first team Class A All-State lineman last season and an integral part of the Panther’s successful playoff run to the semi-finals. He was also a pre-season all-state pick this year.
“I just want to say that if it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Mills told the Daily News. “I want to thank all my friends and families for saying so many prayers for me, and never giving up on me.”
“God is the reason that I am alive, no doubt about it. Anyone who sees my car, and doubts that God isn’t real, isn’t looking at the right picture. There’s a million reasons why my funeral should be getting arranged currently, but God had other plans,” the teenager said. “I’m gonna be sad about not able to finish out the season in a Panther’s uniform, but most importantly, I’m glad I’m able to move, and that God is continuing to watch over me. If it wasn’t for my Savior, I wouldn’t be able to even talk to you now.”
Several of the Panther coaches commented on losing Mills for the season.
“This is a huge loss for our team and you can’t replace him. He is an excellent student, player and fine young man. We will miss him, but we all know football is not the most important thing. He has his priorities right and has a very bright future,” Head Coach Tony Clusky said.
“Dusty Mills is one of my favorite players of all time. He loves his team. For the past four years he has taught me as much as I have taught him,” said TVHS football trainer and assistant coach Joey Childers. “God has wonderful plans for him. It is hard to say how I feel about this kid. I love him to death. He never questions anything I ask him to do.”
“I am sure God is watching over my boy,” Childers added.
“Dusty is ranked in the top 10 of all linemen in West Virginia, but he is so much more than a football player,” said assistant coach Justin Crawford. “He is a better person than he is an offensive tackle. Any parent would be proud to have a son like him. It’s a tragedy that this happened, but knowing Dusty, he hasn’t even begun to reach his potential as a person. I’m proud to have had the chance to coach him and help him develop his game.”
The accident was investigated by Mingo County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. “Booie” Williams and West Virginia State Troopers Matheny and Rose.
Williams said the driver of the pickup truck held Mills head still until paramedics and EMT workers arrived. The name of the driver was not available. Mills was transported to Pikeville Regional Medical Center. Thankfully Mills will not suffer in paralysis.
Reportedly Mills hydroplaned on the wet road on State Rt. 65 near the old Marrowbone Development entrance near Naugatuck. He had just dropped off a friend after practice on Wednesday and was heading to his grandparent’s house. After he lost control of his car, he collided with a full-sized pickup truck.
Facebook was lit up with prayers and well wishes to Dusty by his classmates, neighbors and those concerned about his health.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)