Kelli was an amazing young woman. She knew what she wanted at an early age, and horses figured prominently in her future. Kelli was a freshman at The Ohio State Wooster ATI majoring in Horse Production and Management.
She worked as a page at the Medina County District Library. She also worked in the library at ATI. Kelli volunteered at the Medina County SPCA. She had an incredible love of animals. Kelli owned 2 horses, Dee and Lily. Kelli attended Cloverleaf Schools through her Freshmen year. She then attended the Ohio Distance Electronic Learning Academy (OHDELA). She was a 2 -year member of Honor Society and Student Council. She held offices in both groups. She graduated with honors at 16 years of age. Kelli was also involved in 4H for several years. She was a member of the Westfield Trailblazers and the Just Horsin’ Around clubs. She was involved with Jr. Leaders. Showing her horses was her greatest joy and she cherished the friendships she made while doing so. She had hopes of one day showing her horse at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress which she attended with a group of friends one week prior to her death. Kelli was a wonderful daughter, friend, co-worker and student. She was at the happiest time in her life when her accident occurred. She wanted to make a difference in this world. It is now up to us to see that she does.
October 19, 2011 started just like any other day. Kelli’s alarm went off. She snuggled her cat, Ace, as she did every morning. She got out of bed, put on her jeans, hoodie, and cowboy boots. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail, gathered her things for school, gave me a hug and headed out the door. I watched from the kitchen window as she waved and pulled away. Little did I know that would be the last time we would ever see our daughter. Kelli was on her way to the horse barn at Wooster ATI on Applecreek Road in Wayne County. She drove the same route every day for a month. That day the road was different. The road had been repaved the day before. There was no center line, no edge line, and a 5″ drop off the edge of the road. It was raining and very dark. Kelli only drove one third of a mile on this road before her passenger side tires dropped off the edge of the road when it suddenly narrowed without warning. She was unable to get back on the road due to the huge drop off. She hit a driveway and went back onto the road for an instant when the car began to spin sideways. Kelli went into a slide and went back off the road, hit two concrete deer, and then hit a tree at the driver’s door. Her car then caught fire. We knew something was wrong earlier that day when we didn’t get a text from Kelli that she was “At Skl”. I had sent her several texts and left a couple messages to please contact me. I finally called the Horse Barn to see if she was there. I was informed that she did not make it to the barn. As I panicked and called the police, the State Highway Patrol pulled into our driveway. They told me to sit down. They informed me that Kelli was in a horrible accident and did not survive. Our lives changed forever at that moment.
Kelli was not texting or talking on her phone. She was not eating or drinking. She was wearing her seat belt and she was not speeding. She was simply driving to school.
The condition of the road was a significant contributing factor in Kelli’s tragic death.