ELKHORN CITY, Ky. – A 17-year-old who was sent home from school for being intoxicated shot his parents and grandmother to death, then died in a crash after police attempted to pull him over on a highway, authorities said. Another driver also was killed.
The teen was identified Wednesday as Matthew Hackney (search) of Elkhorn Creek, a senior at East Ridge High School (search) who authorities said had never been in trouble. School officials said the student had taken prescription painkillers.
Hackney was cited for public intoxication at the school Tuesday and released to the custody of his parents, State Police Lt. Bobby Johnson said.
That afternoon, a friend of the youth notified authorities of the shootings.
"He just told me he killed them," Christa Coleman, 18, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "He said they had caught him with drugs and weed at school today. They had a drug test and he failed it, and when they tried to arrest him, he ran."
She said Hackney asked her if he could hide out at her home for a few days "and I told him, 'No way.'"
The bodies of Ivan Hackney, 47, Shirley Hackney, 44, and Wilma Hackney, 63, were found at the teen's home, Johnson said. Mike Maynard, a paramedic for the Elkhorn City Ambulance Service (search), said they were all shot multiple times, apparently with a large-caliber rifle.
Johnson said state troopers spotted Hackney on a highway and attempted to stop him, but Hackney lost control and crashed head-on into a pickup truck, killing Terry A. Taylor, 41, an Elkhorn City employee.
Pike County School Superintendent Frank Welch said the teen told an assistant principal that he had taken five Ultrams, a prescription painkiller.
"I don't think at this point in time they know exactly where he got them," Welch said.
Hackney had never been in trouble at the school before, and students, teachers and administrators were devastated, Welch said.
"It's just a tragedy," Welch said. "When you talk to the teachers and the people who knew him, they say there wasn't a better student who ever went through that school than him."