KGUN 9News


Grief counselors at CHS after two teens killed

Posted at 10:33 PM, May 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 22:01:31-04
A deadly car accident killed two teenagers over the weekend who had recently celebrated prom together.
Police say 18-year-old Travis Childress and 16-year-old Madisyn Bertsch both died Saturday after the car Childress was driving drifted into oncoming traffic on Golf Links Road near Craycroft. 
On Sunday, a roadside memorial for the couple took shape at the scene of the accident. Grief counselors were available at Cienega High School Monday for students and staff. Both teens attended the school and Childress was set to graduate in less than two weeks, alongside his twin brother Wyatt. 
"We know a lot of students are missing today because [they're] grieving at home," said Rebecca Carrier, an intervention counselor at Cienega High School. "Travis and Madisyn had a lot of friends. Everyone here knew who they were so this was a big shock to our entire community." 
Carrier says the school put an action plan in place to help students and staff grieve. That included setting up resources in the school's library and holding small support groups for anyone who wanted to talk about the couple. 
The school's principal tells 9OYS both Travis Childress and Madisyn were very loved by both teachers and their peers. 
"These two students were good people," said Nemar Hassey, principal at Cienega High. "They were good students, they were what Cienega Bobcat students should be."
He says Bertsch took entrepreneurship classes and was also involved in the early childhood education program. Travis Childress loved photography and was taking an advanced photography class. 
Multiple fundraising efforts are in place to support the Childress family. Club XS on Speedway and Wilmot is holding a fundraiser for Travis on May 19.
The venue holds a special meaning to Travis and his brother Wyatt as they would often perform there with their band. 
"He wouldn't want us to all sit and cry," said Kourtney Childress, Travis' cousin. "To have a party and listen to music like we're going to do and not just cry even though it's so hard not to." 
Travis Childress played lead guitar alongside his brother in a band called House Divided. They last played at Club XS on May 6. Their father died in January and that was their first time taking the stage since his death.
"They can play pretty much so many different instruments," said Kourtney Childress. "I know they both know how to play drums. Travis couldn't sing as well as Wyatt but he would try." 
Kourtney Childress says Travis and Wyatt planned to move to California after graduating high school to pursue music. 
The crash on Saturday killed Travis Childress at the scene. Bertsch later died at the hospital. A 34-year-old man driving a second vehicle involved in the accident suffered serious injuries. A third car was also involved but that driver was not injured. 
Police say speed does not appear to be a factor in the crash and everyone involved was wearing a seatbelt. 
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Travis' family. The fundraiser at Club XS on Thursday is set to begin at 6 p.m. The owner is donating 10 percent of the bar profits to the family along with 100 percent of the profits from a $5 cover charge.
The rest of the House Divided band is set to join another band on stage and play a special tribute song in Travis' honor. 
A local dog grooming business is also collecting donations for the family. Theresa Walker owns T & J grooming at 2454 N. Pantano and says she is a neighbor and friend of the Childress family. She is offering free grooming services to anyone this week between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and instead asking for donations to go toward funeral expenses for Travis Childress.