Teacher fatally injured in wreck

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LICK CREEK – A middle school teacher passed away after sustaining injuries from a two-vehicle accident on Lick Creek that occurred late Saturday night.

Around midnight Saturday, January 6, local North Magoffin Volunteer Fire Department member, Austin Caudill called the accident in on his radio, pleading for help. 

Caudill had been traveling north on KY. 2019 (Lick Creek) in a pickup truck, when Magoffin County Sheriff’s Department believe his truck had a mechanical failure, causing him to cross the center line and hit a small Ford SUV head-on, driven by Jason Tackett, 26, of Salyersville. 

Tackett, who was also a volunteer fire fighter with North Magoffin, as well as a teacher at Herald Whitaker Middle School and an ordained preacher, reportedly had plans to meet up with Caudill that night at the fire station, but had to run home first.

According to rescue personnel, Tackett sustained multiple severe traumatic injuries, and was flown by KY 9 to Pikeville Medical Center, where he was later pronounced deceased.

Caudill was transported by ambulance to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and later released. 

Remembering Tackett
Tackett started his teaching career in 2014 as a student teacher at North Magoffin Elementary, when he also coached the girls’ basketball team for South Magoffin Elementary. He then spent two years at the school teaching sixth grade social studies. For the current school year, he was teaching middle school social studies at Herald Whitaker Middle School. Tackett was a 2009 graduate of Magoffin County High School.

Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton said, “He was a fine, young person, a good teacher, but a fine person. He was loved by his students. My daughter had him and loved him. He was loved by the staff and his coworkers, as well. He was a person we were proud to hire to have working with children and he is going to be missed.”

Helton told the Independent that counselors will be available for any staff and students needing to talk about the loss.

North Magoffin Elementary Principal Keith Isaac told Your News Today that when Tackett started teaching, they taught sixth grade alongside each other.

“I should have been a mentor to him, but on a spiritual level he was more of a mentor to me,” Isaac said. “He was a lot of guidance and when I needed help he was always there.” 

Isaac described how Tackett connected with the students, in and out of the classroom.

“When on the playground, I’d be sitting on the bench, and he would be playing basketball with them,” Isaac remembered. “He joined right in. He was such a good guy.”

Herald Whitaker Middle School Principal Garland Yates reiterated the same, stating that Tackett was well respected by his peers and the students.

“It was easy to see when you walked into his classroom,” Yates said. “The kids really liked him.”

Isaac commended Tackett on a broader level, as well.

“Jason was an exceptional educator, a dear friend, and he had a great rapport with the students of Magoffin County, and among all things, Jason was a true example of Christ,” Isaac said. “He’s going to leave behind a testimony that we all should look at, think about and try to be better people.”

When Isaac became principal, Tackett gave him a bible.

“I have been at such a loss of words through this time, and I thought about it this morning and said, ‘Jason gave me this, go to it.’ And flipping through, I looked at Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 16. ‘Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ And that’s Jason in a nutshell. If you saw him, you loved him. He was always uplifting.”

North Magoffin Elementary released the following statement about the loss:

“North Magoffin Elementary staff and students are deeply in mourning over the recent tragic passing of our beloved Mr. Jason Tackett.  This verse from Matthew 5:16 represents Jason’s life: ‘upon this earth, In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ Jason’s dear mother, Elizabeth Tackett, is our school librarian. She passed her love of education on to Jason who graduated from Magoffin County High School in 2009 and he later received his bachelor’s degree in education from Morehead State University. In 2014, Jason began student teaching at North Magoffin. His love for children and education was easy to see. He enjoyed teaching and loved PE as much as his students. In August of 2015, Jason was hired to teach sixth grade at our school. His students loved him and were always eager for Mr. T’s class, as they often referred to him. In 2016, Jason took on the role of becoming a fifth-grade teacher and he coached our Lady Panthers basketball team. He did so with much joy and pride, always a light to his students and coworkers. Those he touched will forever remember Jason’s uplifting personality and contagious smile. Love truly knows no boundaries. While Mr. Tackett is no longer with us, his spirit will always remain. Praying for peace and comfort for his family, fiancé, and all who were blessed to know and love him.  Psalm 34:18 ‘The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’”

Helton and Isaac both asked the public to remember Tackett’s family and his fiancé, the students and the community in thoughts and prayers during this time.

Tackett’s mother, Elizabeth Tackett, is the librarian at North Magoffin Elementary. His father, Ricky Tackett, was also one of the founding members of the North Magoffin Volunteer Fire Department, which Jason was a member. 

Tackett got engaged to his fiancé, Natalie Jenkins, at Christmas and the two were planning to wed in June.

He was an ordained preacher, and a member of the Fathers House of Prayer, as well as the assistant chaplain for the North Magoffin Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire department has made counselors available for their members, as well.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday at the Salyersville First Baptist Church, and the funeral procession included fire, rescue and police, with the flag raised by fire trucks for the procession to drive through. A helicopter was flown over the church, as well as over the cemetery, in honor of Tackett.