Event Benefits Family of Girl Killed in Accident - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/18/04-Smith County

Event Benefits Family of Girl Killed in Accident

Last month we told you about a Liberty City girl killed while trying to cross Hwy 64, just East of Tyler.

14-year-old Kayla Smith was leaving a party at a friend's house in Chapel Hill when friends say she failed to look both ways before running across the highway. The girl was hit by a pick-up truck and died at the scene.

Having no insurance, the Smith family had to struggle to come up the money for their daughter's funeral, even leaving out a headstone because of the cost. Sunday, family and friends helped put on a barrel racing event, raising money to help with some of those expenses.

Pictures of the 14-year-old, speak volumes about who she was. A loving daughter, a kind friend and a caring sister, she touched many in her young life. Mother Debbie Smith said it's been hard to let her go.

"She was a happy person, she just didn't' want anybody to be sad," she said. "That's what we miss the most."

It's been more than a month since Kayla was killed and the tears continue to flow. Mom said she would have liked the attention, but seeing those who love her would mean even more.

"She's here. I feel like she's just sitting up there looking over everybody that's here, everybody that loves her."

That love is evident. In just three weeks friends helped put together a benefit that included a silent auction, bake sale and barrel race. Those close to Kayla said it's right up her alley.

"She had so many friends and she enjoyed being around them all the time," said family friend Sharon Ford. "She would enjoy this very much, she would think this is beautiful."

Mom agreed, but said the event brought with it mixed emotions.

"They're happy thoughts, they are, I just wish she was here to make more."

She said she's learning to deal with her daughters death, but hopes the event will help her memory live on. The group was allowed to use the Tyler Equestrian Facility Sunday at no cost. Also, a portion of the money raised from the barrel racing and all the proceeds from the auction and bake sale will go to the family.

They hope to purchase a headstone with part of the money and start a fund to help other parents who lose children. If you would like to help out a fund has been set up in Kayla's name at all Southside and Regions Bank locations.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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