Using a memory to make a change


Reporter- Briana Conner
Photographer- Justin Jones

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky.— 16 year old Allie Kirtley died in a fatal car crash late last month. Now, her friends, family, and community leaders are working together to make sure the tragedy that took her life doesn't repeat itself.

On May 30th, Kirtley was leaving a McDonald's in Marshall County, Kentucky, US Highway 62. The teenager was hit by a dump truck when she pulled out onto the highway at an intersection her parents describe as dangerous, and deadly. That's why, just 16 days after their daughter died, they're using her memory to help keep others alive. 

 "Allie was caring, she was loving, she was bubbly," said her mother Vicki Kirtley. Her family and friends spent Saturday morning sorting through a table full of memories. The pictures are all they have left. Vicki said, "Every day's a challenge to wake up. You miss em so much." 16 mornings later, she's focused on making a change. She said, "I know I have a purpose." Allie's father, Mike Kirtley, said, "You just have to continue and go on and try to make something out her life that can be lasting for someone else."

Marshall County District Three Commissioner Misti Drew is on board with the Kirtley's, and she's asking the state transportation cabinet to make the busy intersection safer. She said, "I knew that this was not the first incident we've had at this location." She also added, "We're hopeful that, whether it's decreased speed or a full out traffic signal, that something here will be a reminder that the family was able to use this tragedy in a positive way."

Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White is also in favor of making some changes. He knew Allie, and said, "She was a blessing to a lot of people, especially me." He added, "We have a similar intersection in Lyon County... exit 45. We have a stop light there. I can't imagine not having that stop light." Now, Allie's family and friends are trying to imagine life without Allie. Her mother said, "I have to be strong now because I want to make a difference. I don't want Allie to be forgotten."

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is conducting a traffic survey that will determine what, if any changes will be made at that intersection. In the meantime, the Kirtley's are starting a petition and asking anyone else concerned about that stretch of road to call the Transportation Cabinet at (270) 898-2431 to voice their concern.