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

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Jessie Purser often walked through the halls of Lewisville Middle School with a smile on her face, so it’s no surprise that she had a lot of friends and supporters.

Days after a crash that killed Purser, the community has been rocked, and her friends are grieving.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol says she was riding in a truck when the driver lost control and crashed into a lawnmower. Jessie was thrown from the truck and died. A local father on the lawnmower was also killed.

Channel 9′s South Carolina Reporter Tina Terry spoke with Jessie’s middle school principal on Tuesday, who said she made an impact at her school.

“She was going to be on our volleyball team next year, she was going to be a cheerleader,” said Brian Edmond, the principal at Lewisville Middle School. “She was an all-around young lady and she had lots of friends.”

Those friends are all missing her now. Edmond says they’ve been “very sad,” adding that many at the school are “going through the grieving process.”

Troopers say 19-year-old Christopher Mullis was driving on Homestead Road near Rock Hill around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. They say Mullis ran off the road, and his truck hit Christopher Kernaghan, killing him. Jessie was thrown from the truck.

Now, Principal Edmond and school counselor Alma Wilson are helping students here.

“I just want them to remember Jessie as the sweet, smiling, young lady that she was,” Wilson said. “She loved everybody.”

“It just took me a moment to get myself together, emotionally,” Edmond said following the crash.

The school administrators say a group of Jessie’s friends asked to hold a balloon release in her honor at the school. A Gofundme donation page has also been set up to help Jessie’s family with funeral expenses and medical bills.

“The students need love, support, and if they need to grieve however they need to grieve, we just need to be there to support them,” Wilson said.

Kernaghan’s wife says her son, who was also on the lawnmower, is in the intensive care unit with serious injuries. She says her husband was the only one who worked in their home, and they need help caring for their four children. A Gofundme donation page has been set up to help with their expenses.

Mullis is currently in jail facing felony DUI charges.

The balloon release at Lewisville Middle School will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

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