Classmates hold vigil for 13-year-old girl killed in crash near Rock Hill

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — Loved ones and classmates held a vigil in memory of a 13-year-old girl who died over the weekend.

Jessie Purser was killed when the driver of a truck she was riding in lost control and crashed into a lawnmower. Jessie was thrown from the truck and died.

Hundreds of people packed Lewisville Middle School’s gym Wednesday night to honor the 7th-grade student.

“I’m very happy that a lot of people showed up and showed how much they cared for her. They loved her,” Jessie’s best friend Jaylina Hoyes said.

Hoyes told Channel 9 that she is heartbroken and has been struggling with the loss. “It just hurts to lose a best friend,” Hoyes said.

Several friends and teachers shared their favorite memories of Jessie, including school counselor Alma Wilson.

“This is their way to grieve and get it out. And feel like they are doing something for Jessie,” Wilson said.

Wilson said Jessie’s classmates took the initiative to plan the memorial.

“They made flyers before I got approval from the principal because I was thinking, they were thinking, ‘If y’all say yes or no we’re still going to do this,’” Wilson explained.

At the vigil, students shared their memories with Jessie, as well as highlighting her accomplishments. She had recently joined the school’s cheerleading and volleyball teams.

Hoyes said she will remember the simple moments.

“Having her by my side. Talking to her every day. Knowing she makes me laugh every second,” Hoyes shared.

Troopers said a local father and his 3-year-old son were on the lawnmower when it was hit.

The father died from his injuries and the 3-year-old is still in the hospital with serious injuries.

VIDEO: ‘She loved everybody’: 13-year-old girl remembered after crash near Rock Hill