Kirtley, 16, an incoming junior at Lyon County High School, died in a tragic traffic accident shortly after noon Thursday on U.S. 62 in Calvert City.
Marshall County Deputy Coroner Barry Taylor said he pronounced her dead at 1:14 p.m. at Marshall County Hospital as a result of her injuries.
She is also being remembered as a leader with take-charge talents.
Among her many activities, Kirtley was a member of Judge-Executive Wade White’s Journey Youth Group and of the Lyon County Young Republicans Club of which White is one of two sponsors.
White recalled her helping with his campaign when he ran for judge-executive. “She invited me over to take me around her neighborhood to help me campaign,” White said. “She told me as we drove around, ‘Now don’t say anything stupid; you let me do the talking.’
“I followed those directions, and it was actually the best campaign advice I received that year,” White said. “She was a very special young lady, full of life and smiling all the time. We were lucky enough to have her in our Journey Youth Group and were able to lead her to Christ and baptize her in a pond in 2009.”
White said Kirtley had a wonderful personality “and was always ready to do something that was fun.”
“I recall the night she won Miss Founder’s Day — in her dress and makeup — it wasn’t an hour later that she was standing on my boat deck bow fishing with us,” the judge said.
Eddyville attorney Dailey Wilson, the other Young Republicans sponsor, said Kirtley’s death was “certainly a tragedy.”
“She will be missed by the club members as well as by Judge White and me,” Wilson added. “She was very personable and always had a bright smile and a bubbly personality. I know the students are upset and will miss her. She was very kind to all the club members, and she attended all our meetings.”
The wreck occurred about 12:17 p.m. at U.S. 62 and Campbell Drive, said Calvert City Police Chief David Elliott. He said Kirtley was pulling out from the BP service station when her 2006 Audi collided with a 1991 Freightline (dump truck) driven by Michael B. McDonald, 37, of Grand Rivers. A video obtained from the BP station showed the Audi pulled into the truck’s path, he said.
“We have actual video of the crash which is better than any eyewitness statement,” said Elliott. “This case is under investigation and it will take some time to get all the information we need to determine the exact cause.”
McDonald, was driving west hauling a load of limestone for McDonald Trucking Co. of Tiline, the police chief said. McDonald was not injured.
Though he can’t be certain, Elliott said he thinks Kirtley was attempting to turn left onto U.S. 62. Her car was struck broadside on the driver’s side.
Elliott was unsure whether Kirtley was wearing her seat belt. He said the investigation by Calvert City Police is ongoing and all the facts are not yet established. Calvert Police have subpoenaed cell phone records of both drivers to determine whether either driver was talking on the phone or texting.
Also both drivers were screened for alcohol and/or drugs — Calvert City officers had McDonald screened and the coroner’s office had Kirtley screened. Elliott was unsure when those toxicology test results will be available.
Elliot said Monday he plans to contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to consider lowering the speed limit near that congested area which is just west of the Interstate 24 Exit 27 interchange at Calvert City. And he had already phoned state Rep. Will Coursey’s Frankfort office and spoken with Coursey’s secretary about help in getting changes made.
The police chief said the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit is too fast for the congestion in that area. Elliott also said a traffic light may be needed at the intersection, which leads to McDonalds restaurant, the gas station, Waffle House and Cracker Barrel.
Kirtley was employed as a cashier and dockhand at Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville. Her funeral was held Sunday at Lakeland Funeral Home Chapel in Eddyville. Her obituary appears on Page A7.
Kirtley’s parents, Mike and Vicki Kirtley, have established the Allie Kirtley Memorial Scholarship to benefit Lyon County High School’s soccer team members at Fifth Third Bank in Eddyville. Allie was a member of the soccer team, her mother said. Anyone desiring to contribute to the scholarship may do so at Fifth Third here or any Fifth Third Bank, said Melissa Blinco, cusomer service manager at the Eddyville branch.