Popular Goliad ag teacher killed in crash of old car he had restored

Sonny Long

June 1, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.
Updated June 2, 2012 at 1:02 a.m.

Trey Psencik works on restoring the General Lee in June 2011. The Goliad High School agriculture engineering mechanics teacher died in a car crash Thursday.

Trey Psencik works on restoring the General Lee in June 2011. The Goliad High School agriculture engineering mechanics teacher died in a car crash Thursday.

Trey Psencik died Thursday night doing something he loved -- driving an old car he had restored.

Psencik, 29, agriculture engineering and mechanics teacher at Goliad High School, was killed when the 1927 Ford he was driving crashed about 8 p.m. on Farm-to-Market Road 1726, about a half mile north of Manahuilla Street.

Psencik, who was also the Goliad FFA adviser, was pronounced dead at the scene by Goliad County Justice of the Peace Sylvia Valdez. Valdez ordered an autopsy from Central Texas Autopsy in Lockhart.

A passenger, 29-year-old Chelsea Kay Huth was taken by helicopter to Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi.

As of Friday afternoon, Huth was listed in stable condition in the hospital's intensive care unit, said hospital spokeswoman Katie Kaiser.

Psencik was known for his restoration projects, including working with Goliad ag-mechanics students in 2011 to fix up the General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger from the "Dukes of Hazzard."

Thursday's crash was in a vehicle he had also restored.

According to the Department of Public Safety report, Psencik was driving north on FM 1726 when he lost control of the car while negotiating a curve.

The car overturned and both Psencik and Huth were ejected, according to the report. DPS Trooper Roman Macias investigated the crash.


Friend Brian Yanta, the Goliad County extension agent, called Psencik "a good, good person."

"This is just a shock," Yanta said. "He will be an asset sorely missed by the fair, our church and our community. This is just a real tragedy."

Psencik's students also reacted to the news of his death.

Shanna Whitfield, one of Psencik's ag-mechanic students who was involved in a tractor restoration project last year, was distraught over the fatal crash.

"I was shocked. When my friend called me and told me he had been in a crash, I could hear in her voice something was wrong.

"At first, I didn't want to believe it, then I felt hot tears running down my face. It's very hard," she said.

Shanna, a 17-year-old junior who graduated early Friday night, said Psencik was more than a teacher.

"Not only was he my teacher and my mentor, he was like a dad to me. He treated us with respect and took care of us. I am going to miss him very much."

Shanna said earlier this week, she had given Psencik a graduation invitation.

"What hurts most is that he can't see me walk across the stage, but I guess he's in a better place and has a better view than anyone else now."

Fellow "tractor girl" McCalley Cunningham also praised their teacher.

"We had just been talking about plans for next year," she said. "This caught me completely off-guard.

"What I loved about Mr. Psencik is that he not only helped you learn, but also wanted you to be independent and wanted you to work hard," she said.

There was also another side to Psencik, McCalley said.

"He made us laugh. He was a great person to be around. We always had fun. It was easy for us to relate to him," McCalley said.

"He taught us so much, not just about tractors but he also taught us life lessons through his character."

Ryan Stryker, a 2010 Goliad High School graduate, posted on Psencik's Facebook page that Psencik was, "the only teacher in high school that even cared if I existed.

"I learned more from that man than most any other teacher in high school. All of my memories from school are on ag trips and most of them involve Mr. Psencik. More than a teacher; Trey Psencik is a man I'm proud to call a friend. A friend that I will miss."



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