Feb 27, 2011 7:04 PM

Teen Dies in Car Crash

An Eastern Kentucky community is trying to cope with news of a teenager killed in a crash.

The deadly crash happened Saturday afternoon in Johnson County. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel when she lost control in a curve along Kentucky 581.

At just 16, Sara Shepherd had touched so many lives. Her friends are posting pictures of her on Facebook, remembering happier times.

Just before Saturday afternoon, the accident on Kentucky Route 581 cut their time with Shepherd short, far earlier than they ever imagined. "I think it's sad, because she had so much more to live for," says Ronald Castle, a Johnson County resident.

Police say Shepherd was driving a Chevy Blazer down 581 with a friend, 41-year-old James Jones, who was in the car with her. Investigators say after she got through a curve, she lost control of the Blazer, hit a culvert and flipped. Shepherd, who police say was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown out of the car. The coroner says she was dead at the scene.

People who live in the Thealka community where the accident happened, say the intersection of 581 and Boyd Branch has long been a dangerous one.

"There's so many people that have gotten killed and gotten hurt," says Castle.

Now their attention turns to the many friends and family Shepherd leaves behind. "I hope she has a lot of family support for her parents to get through all this," says Rhonda Castle, a Johnson County resident.

At last check, James Jones, the passenger in the car, is recovering at a Paintsville Hospital with serious injuries. Investigators are still looking into exactly what caused the accident.


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