JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — The JSU family is mourning the loss of one of their students, 18-year-old Katie Beth Carter, of Ringgold, Georgia.
Katie Beth Carter, a Marching Ballerina in the JSU band, was seriously injured when her 2011 Honda Accord was struck by a 2014 International tractor trailer 10 miles north of Jacksonville on US-278, Alabama State Troopers say. She was airlifted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta, where she later died from her injuries. The driver of the tractor trailer was not injured.
Katie Beth had just begun her first year at JSU, and was a “Baby Ballerina.” She had her first performance with the Southerners and Marching Ballerinas last Thursday.
The school’s band director says Katie Beth was an outstanding young lady and a wonderful person. He says she had the type of personality that would lift your spirit just by being in her presence.
Katie Beth was working toward a BSE degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and the school said in an official press release that she was a first-year sophomore.
A GoFundMe set up to honor her says, “Katie Beth Carter was loved by all who knew her. She was a shining star who touched so many lives. She was one of the most beautiful souls among us. Katie Beth was involved in a car accident on her way back to JSU after spending Labor Day weekend at home with her family. She did not survive the accident. This page was created as an opportunity for people to show love and support to her parents Jason and Amy Carter, and siblings Jacob and Kimi Carter, by helping to cover medical expenses and the cost of her arrangements.”
Tuesday, the Southerners held their first practice back after losing Katie Beth. They gathered together to pray before the practice, put their arms around each other and sang “I’ll Fly Away.” The hymn is a tradition that dates back decades according to the Anniston Star. “I’ll Fly Away” is traditionally sung by band members as a benediction at the end of performances, games and rehearsals, with the lyrics, “in the morning,” shouted. Today, they sang it in memory of Katie Beth:
The Marching Ballerinas will hold a memorial service Wednesday night at 9 p.m. in the parking lot of Mathews Coliseum. CBS42 will have live streamed coverage of the event on our Facebook page, along with on the CBS42 News at 10.