RINGGOLD, Ga. - A beloved teenager from Ringgold, Georgia was killed in a car wreck over the weekend.
Katie Beth Carter, 18, is being remembered as a wonderful, outstanding person. The Jacksonville State University first-year student was headed back to school on Labor Day when she tragically lost her life in an accident on U.S. Highway 278.
According to investigators in Alabama, Carter was seriously injured when her Honda Accord was struck by a tractor trailer around 3:30 p.m. Monday. She was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where she later passed away.
Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate the wreck.
Carter grew up in Catoosa County and was a graduate of Heritage High School. She went on to attend JSU in Calhoun County, Alabama where she was a member of the Marching Ballerinas dance line. Her first performance had just taken place last Thursday.
“She performed beautifully and was beaming with pride,” said Marching Southerners Director Ken Bodiford. “She had the type of personality that would lift your spirit just by being in her presence.”
The JSU football team is headed to Baton Rouge this weekend to take on the LSU Tigers. Bodiford said the Marching Southerners will dedicate their performance to Carter during the game Saturday.
Teachers and staff at Heritage High plan to hold a candlelight vigil at the school in honor of Carter Wednesday evening.
"She was always a light to the people around her," said Head Football Coach E. K. Slaughter.
Carter was the football team's head manager last year and also took Slaughter's leadership class. He said she had "a servant's heart" and always went out of her way to do things for others.
Coach Slaughter said some students showed up at the school Monday night after hearing the news about Carter's passing.
"One of [them] who was really close to the family was upset. He kept saying, 'She didn't deserve this. She's such a great person. She just doesn't deserve this,'" said Slaughter. "I would definitely say for sure that if anybody deserves this, it's her. We look at it like something bad's happened to her, but for Katie Beth she's as happy as she's ever been and will ever be right now. We're sad because we don't get to have her every day. We're sad [be]cause we're going to miss her for a season of life, but K.B.'s happy and there's hope in that."
Carter was very active in her church, City Church of Chattanooga where she worked part time in the daycare center, played keyboard and danced in special services.
"She's just vivacious, but also very, very strong," said Senior Pastor Mike Chapman. "She was a very strong Christian and had a passion for her faith."
Funeral plans for Carter have not yet been finalized.