• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Family still waiting for answers

JESSICA CARTER, 26, was killed Feb. 22 on I-64 in Shelby County in what may have been a result of road rage. An uncle said Carter’s four-year-old daughter, Trinity, told her grandmother, “I know Mommy’s in heaven and I guarantee she’s got pink and purple wings as an angel.” (Photo submitted)

A month after Jessica Carter’s death, her family still doesn’t know exactly what led to the I-64 wreck that killed her.

The 2010 Woodford County High School graduate died after her car went off the interstate in Shelby County and flipped several times.

According to Kentucky State Police (KSP), witnesses report that Carter swerved to avoid debris thrown from a tan SUV traveling alongside her, and that road rage may have been a factor.

“She didn’t cut them off,” said Carter’s uncle, Floyd Raglin, a retired Versailles Police Department officer. “She would just kind of speed up a little bit and then they’d speed up right beside her, then she’d speed up a little bit and they’d speed up right beside her … for whatever reason.”

Raglin said his niece was heading home from a salon appointment in Louisville when the incident occurred. Raglin said Johnson’s vehicle and a tan SUV were seen “jostling back and forth” along the interstate before the debris was thrown at her vehicle. A witness said after Carter swerved, her vehicle went down an embankment, flipped several times, and came to rest on its roof on an emergency strip just prior to a Shelbyville exit.

“All they (KSP) have is a tan SUV, which narrows it down to a million,” Raglin said.

Raglin said KSP Trooper Jennifer Johnson was the first on the scene and took care of Carter until ambulances arrived, handling the case “more as a mother than a trooper.”

Raglin and other family members hold out hope that other witnesses come forward, or that surveillance cameras from a nearby business or other evidence will help identify the SUV.

“Of course, it’s a tragedy, and you know, through faith, we’ve dealt with it, strongly, because we know that she’s with the Lord and she’s with her father, (who died) five years ago, and her grandparents. She knew God and loved God and we know where she’s at. The hardest thing to deal with is the unknown of why this person would think it’s okay to hurl things at someone to scare them to the point of causing that accident to happen,” Raglin said.

While waiting for answers and grieving her death, the family has Carter’s four-year-old daughter, Trinity Laverne Carter, to care for. Trinity is living with her grandmother, Laverne Carter, and Raglin said the little girl seems to be doing remarkably well.

According to Raglin, “(Laverne) said to her, ‘Momma’s not with you anymore physically. She’s in heaven.’ And Trinity said, ‘She’s in heaven?’ ‘Yeah, she’s in heaven with granddaddy and stuff.’ And Trinity’s response to her was amazing. She goes, ‘Oh, well, I know Mommy’s in heaven and I guarantee she’s got pink and purple wings as an angel.’”

Pink and purple were Carter’s favorite colors, Raglin said, adding that Trinity also said, referring to her Aunt Camille and grandmother, “I’ve got two mommies now.”

A college scholarship fund for Trinity Carter has been set up at Citizens Commerce Bank, and Jessica Carter’s co-workers at Toyota have organized a GoFundMe page for the same purpose.

“She was shy, but she was sweet,” said Raglin. “She loved people and loved singing at church, and she was a good mom, a good daughter and good niece.”

One month after Carter’s death, Raglin and others who loved her continue to hope for information and pray for strength.

“It would be nice we get some total closure, but if we don’t, the Lord will take care of it,” Raglin said.

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