MSU runner Kaelin Kersh dies in car accident involving MHP trooper

MSU runner Kaelin Kersh dies in car accident involving MHP trooper
Published: May. 7, 2017 at 3:35 PM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2017 at 10:24 PM CDT
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STARKVILLE, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A track athlete at Mississippi State University was killed in an early Sunday morning traffic accident near campus that injured three others, including a state trooper.

According to WTVA in Tupelo, the Mississippi Highway Patrol says 22-year-old Kaelin Kersh, of Pearl, was riding in the backseat of a car when it was struck by a MHP SUV at Highway 182 and Mayhew Road east of Starkville.

Turnipseed says the trooper was on the way to verify a report of a vehicle leaving the road at Highway 182 and 16th Section Road when the accident happened.

"She was always encouraging people. Always confident. She was that person that everyone needed in their life," said Kaelin's cousin, Laquanda Brown.

Kersh was in the car with 21-year-old Noel Collier, of Madison, who was driving.  In the passenger front seat was 22-year-old Tanequa Alexander, of Ridgeland.

The university says all three are seniors, and Kersh participated in commencement exercises Friday.

"Everybody should always tell your parents how much you love them, or just a friend or anything, because you never know when somebody is going to lose their life," said Hannah Chafey, a family friend.

Family and friends held a vigil for Kersh at Pearl High School on Sunday evening, by the track where she used to run.

"As family, we will miss the holidays that we spend together. Not hearing her laugh, or her smile, it's going to be hard," said Brown.

Turnipseed says Collier suffered moderate injuries and is at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.  He adds Alexander suffered moderate injuries and is being treated at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

The trooper suffered minor injuries and was taken by a patrol vehicle to Baptist Memorial Hospital - Golden Triangle in Columbus.

The Pearl native is the daughter of track & field legend George Kersh.

"The kind of love they display - the family, the Kersh family - it wasn't surprising how many people came to show love and support," said Carol Mack, commenting on the dozens or even hundreds of people who turned out for Kaelin's vigil on such short notice. "We just want Coach Kersh to know that we love him, and we support him."

Kaelin competed in middle distance and as a sprinter. She contributed to three victories in her Bulldog career: Distance medley relay at the 2016 Alabama Relays, the 800m at the 2014 Golden Eagle Classic, and the distance medley relay in the 2014 Armory Collegiate Invitational. Kersh shined in the classroom, being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

She signed with MSU in 2013 after a great career at Pearl High. Kersh was the 5A state champion in the 800 meters in 2012 and 2013.

Copyright 2017 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved. Information from WTVA.