Woman killed in ATV accident identified

Family talks about woman killed in ATV accident
(Photo Source: Facebook)
(Photo Source: Facebook)

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC) - Southaven police identified the woman killed in a Saturday night ATV crash as Kaitlyn Hopper. The 22-year-old driver of the ATV, Zachary Wilburn, was injured in the accident.

Investigators say the crash happened near the intersection of Stateline and Tulane roads. Kaitlyn Hopper, who goes by Taylor, was riding as a passenger when she was thrown from the ATV around 10:30 p.m.

"I did not see her that day, I wish now I had," said her aunt, Amy Alexander.

Friends who showed up at the crime scene on Monday claim Southaven police officers were chasing after some of the ATV riders. They believe Wilburn lost control in the process.

The Desoto County Coroner says neither Taylor nor Zach were wearing helmets.

Police originally refused to comment on whether any Southaven officers are part of the ongoing investigation, which is being handled by DeSoto County Sheriff's Department.  Later, the Southaven Police Chief said that officers were near Stateline and Tulane Roads Saturday night when they noticed people riding ATV's.  The officers tried to stop the riders, but the crash happened sometime afterwards.

When asked why DeSoto County Sheriff's Department is investigating the accident, the department spokesperson responded with the following statement:

"It is a common practice for us to assist in an investigation/reconstruction at the request of another agency in different jurisdiction when their personnel is involved or could be perceived involved."

"I don't know that any answer is going to be able to satisfy because, I mean, at the end of the day, she's still gone and she's not ever coming back," Alexander said.

Wilburn is still recovering at the hospital, while Hopper's family tries to get through a day they are used to celebrating with her. She would have turned 22 on Monday.

"I miss that baby so much and I know that my grandmother and mother are taking good care of my angel, and her mother's angel, and what she meant to this whole family," Hopper's aunt, Tammy Brittner, said.

Family members are taking to social media to raise money to pay for Hopper's funeral expenses.

A GoFundMe account was established to help the family with funeral expenses. Click here if you would like to donate: http://www.gofundme.com/lx5gc8.

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