MONROE CO., MISS. (WCBI) – It was Friday evening, May 4th and 21 year old Katie Beth Carruth was heading north on a stretch of Highway 45 alternate. She had been texting and tweeting while driving. As she approached the Okolona exit, her car went off the road. Her vehicle flipped several times. Katie Beth was thrown from the car and died instantly.
One hundred and 13 days later, friends and family turned out on a rainy Saturday morning, to put up a roadside cross.
“We took some two by sixes, we built them down in the center so they would be flat on both sides , and we did a layered effect to give it like a three D look to it,” said James Snell.
James Snell’s son, Colt, dated Katie Beth. He was one of many friends and family who wrote short messages on the multi colored cross. He also helped anchor it in the soil.
After the cross was in place, scripture verses were read, funny memories shared and tears shed.
“It’s just another way to celebrate, and just remember Katie Beth and the life she lived and the blessing she was to all of us,” said Robin Carruth, Katie Beth’s aunt.
Those who were a part of Katie Beth’s life, and who are impacted by her death, also hope the memorial will be a stark reminder to other motorists.
“Texting and driving, it’s always been something that I guess as an adult it has bothered me that people do it, but knowing that we lost Katie Beth because she just wanted to write a real quick text, it breaks my heart and I never want another family to go through the pain we’ve had to go through , never want kids to have to stand out here and remember their 21 year old friend just because of texting,” Carruth said.
“Hopefully this will be a wake up call for a lot of folks,” James Snell said.
Katie Beth’s family and friends are working with state lawmakers in an effort to have legislation introduced, and passed that would ban texting and driving.