Candlelight vigil honors Sumter girl killed in wreck with deputy

Keke Felder
Keke Felder

By Logan Smith - bio | email

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - A high school senior died this week after a car wreck with a Sumter County deputy. Friday night, her friends and family held a candlelight vigil to remember her life.

A single cross marks the spot on Wedgefield Highway where Felder was in a terrible accident.

"We thought she was going to pull through because she's a very strong girl, and it just took everybody by surprise," said Felder's friend, Hillary Burns.

"I couldn't believe it," said close friend Laquanda Jacobs. "I thought I was gonna see her again, never thought it would happen to her like that. Thought we were gonna graduate together -- we had plans."

A few miles away, hundreds gathered to remember the life of the girl they called Keke.

"She was loved," said friend Brandi Coley. "It didn't matter who you were, she was right there for you no matter what you needed," Burns chimed in.

Keke died at the hospital on Monday, a day after she was involved in an accident with Sumter County Deputy Kenneth Burris at an intersection on Pitts Road.

It's an intersection Keke's friends know all too well. "We got in a wreck there two years ago," said Burns. "There's a bunch of blind sports that you can't see, and they need to fix it."

Now, just a few months before graduation, a community comes together. "They're realizing that life's too short, everybody gotta stick together," said Jacobs. "No talking about this person or that because you never know when it's your time to go. You gotta show them you love them then and there."

"It's sad that something like this had to happen to bring the senior class together, because all the seniors are talking to people they normally wouldn't talk to," said Burns.

Holding onto each other for support as they hold onto the memory of their friend.

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