Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Simpson was scheduled to move to Troy Saturday

Instead, friends and family will gather at Hillcrest High School in Evergreen for her funeral following accident that claimed her life

 

August 8, 2019

Courtesy Photo

Simpson

Starrett Jovanna Simpson was scheduled to move into her new housing unit at Troy University this Saturday, but instead her friends and family will be gathering at Hillcrest High School in Evergreen Saturday afternoon for her funeral following a tragic accident that claimed the 18-year old's life Friday night.

Starrett was a 2019 graduate of Hillcrest High School where she finished third in her class. She was headed to Troy with her best friend Destiny Walton for at least the fall semester but had her eyes set on the Air Force.

All those plans changed last Thursday night, Aug. 1 on U.S. Highway 84, five miles southeast of Monroeville.

According to reports released by the highway patrol division of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, emergency personnel were dispatched at 9:18 p.m. to an accident involving a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle. The report notes Simpson was struck by a 2004 Toyota Corolla driven by Kashundra Watts, 39, of Monroeville. Simpson was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation into the incident continues.

Walton said she and Starrett had been classmates since they began going to school and graduated last year together at Hillcrest.

She said she was on her way back from Montgomery Thursday night to meet Starrett at Jalisco's in Evergreen to celebrate Walton's 18th birthday.

"I got a call and they said they thought Starrett had been involved in an accident," Walton said. "I went to the scene and confirmed it was her."

Although Starrett was pronounced dead at the scene, Walton said they waited until they got her to the hospital to say she had died.

She said she learned that Starrett has run off the road and went through a guard rail and her vehicle flipped three times. She crawled out of the vehicle and came back across the guardrail when she was struck by the other vehicle.

"I still can't believe it," Walton said.

"We went to school together every year and we've been real close since the seventh grade," Walton said. "She had such a bright personality and there wasn't a mean bone in her body. Her personality was so bright you could feel it when she walked into a room."

"She made everybody smile," Walton added. "She just had a positive impact on everybody who met her."

She said although Starrett had her eyes set on the Air Force, she was heading to Troy for at least the fall semester.

"We were both heading up there this Saturday," Walton said. "We got assigned to different dorms but neither of us had roommates so we were going to try and room together."

Instead of moving to Troy this Saturday, Walton will be attending her friend's funeral, scheduled for 1 p.m. at Hillcrest High School.

Courtesy Photo

Simpson, left and friend Walton

Walton said she's still a little bit in shock and is not sure about her future plans.

"I don't think I want to move up there without my friend," she said.

Conecuh County School Superintendent Dr. Zickeyous M. Byrd echoed Walton's comments on Starrett, saying she made everybody around her feel better.

"She was a great student, number three in her class," Dr. Byrd said. "She was a cheerleader and an ambassador for the school. She represented the school very well and had her goals set."

Dr. Byrd said Starrett was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell in Evergreen trying to save some money before she left for Troy.

"She was like my own child," Dr. Byrd said. "She was full of life and had a great head on her shoulders. It's such a tragic situation."

 
 

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