More than 1,000 remember students, woman, unborn baby
More than 1,000 people filled the bleachers and spilled over onto the football field to remember the cheerleaders as well as Jeweline King, 49, of Jamestown, Tenn., and her unborn grandchild, also lost when a SUV carrying the four teens home from a birthday party, collided with a Ford Taurus on U.S. Highway 27 around midnight.
All the girls in the SUV died, three of them instantly. The driver of the Taurus, Malcum King Jr. of Jamestown, remains in stable condition at University of Tennessee Medical Center. His daughter-in-law, Miranda King, 22, who was 33 weeks pregnant, lost her unborn child and is in critical condition at UT Medical Center.
Miranda King's 10-month old son was also taken to a hospital but his condition is not known.
Little is known about the King family, though some of those at the candlelight vigil Monday said the family was on their way home from a birthday party in McCreary County, Ky., at the time of the accident.
As 800 students returned to Scott High School on Monday morning there was none of the usual clamor of 800 students.
"It was dead silent when we walked in. It was like that all day," said Samantha Strunk, 17.
"The kids came in with heavy hearts. We all did," said Principal Bill Hall.
By Monday night, a heart-lifting service of songs, poetry, prayers brought back some happier memories.
"It's times like these you really see the love of a community," Hall said.
Samantha and Kristian Owens, co-captains of the cheerleading squad, remembered Ashley Mason as the most athletic member, the one who was always challenging them to keep practicing and striving to be better. Her encouragement helped them take first place during the Tennessee Valley Fair cheerleading competition, said Samantha.
"She never stopped working, she wanted to be the best. She wanted us all to be the best," said another cheerleader, MacKenzie King, 15.
Jamie Hill was always leading the other girls in singing. "She knew every song that came over the radio," said Kristian.
Jamie's sister, Aleasha, was the "quiet one" with an infectious giggle, her teammates said.
Nikki Hughett knew just how to make her friends "crack a smile" if they were feeling down, said classmate Brittney Bowling, 16.
"She was just spunky all the time," she said.
Funeral arrangements for Jeweline Ledbetter King are pending.
Marti Davis may be reached at 865-342-6305.