HELENA, Ala. (WIAT) — The Shelby County community is mourning after Helena High School senior Khalia Smith died Wednesday night in a car wreck on Shelby County Highway 13.
It was a somber scene in Helena Thursday with many students choosing to grieve and honor the 18-year-old.
Harry “Traveling Shoes” Turner’s daughter Jaynie “Princess Shoestring” Turner was a fellow Helena High School senior with Smith. Turner says the senior class is close-knit, many growing up together since kindergarten
He says his daughter and Smith recently talked about how they planned on going to Jacksonville State University in the fall. Turner’s daughter telling him Smith’s death didn’t feel real.
“If I could give them their daughter back, I would. Which means, when my daughter Shoestring goes to Jacksonville State University, she’s not just going for the Turner family, she’ll also be going for the Smith family,” says Turner.
Turner says he’s praying for the Smith family and the Helena senior class as they process this unexpected loss.
Shelby County Schools released a statement Thursday saying:
“Shelby County Schools district leaders were notified this morning that Khalia Smith, a 12th-grade student at Helena High, passed away in a tragic car accident last night. We do not have specific details regarding the accident.
Losing a member of our school community is never easy and we understand the profound impact this loss has on everyone. Shelby County Schools has a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel at difficult times such as this. Counselors will be available at the school today and tomorrow for any student who may want help or assistance surrounding this loss. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Khalia’s family and loved ones, along with our students, staff, and the entire Helena Husky family, during this difficult time.”
A private student-led prayer vigil and memorial for Smith will be held Friday morning at Helena High School.