• Father reacts after high school student killed in crash with 18-wheeler in West Memphis

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. - The victim who was hit and killed by an 18-wheeler in West Memphis has been identified. 

    West Memphis police confirmed that Jatava Murray, 18, was the person killed in the deadly crash Wednesday night. 

    Police said the accident happened around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday on Rainer Road near Delta Road. 

    Murray was a student at West Memphis High School, according to police. Murray’s car pulled out in front of the semi-truck when the accident happened.

    Police said no charges have been filed, and alcohol was not a factor in the crash. 

    The tractor-trailer struck the 18-year-old woman, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

    There is a growing memorial with a few balloons and a teddy bear near the road where the accident happened.


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    Murray’s father, David Murray, said purple was one of her favorite colors. He said this memorial is just one of the many ways her friends are keeping her memory alive. 

    “It’s just hard, you know, to know someone with such a bright future to be snatched away like that,” Murray said. “It’s a trial of our faith and that's what's going to get us through this.”

    Murray told FOX13 his daughter was heading to work when the accident happened on Rainer Road. 

    Jatava Murray was a senior at West Memphis High School. She wanted to go to college and become a physical therapist, and possibly a basketball coach one day, her father said.

    The two-lane road is known for truck traffic, and it was busy even on a holiday. 

    David Murray said the road could be “better lit” and more visible to merging drivers, but no one thing is to blame.

    “It makes me feel good to know people feel that way about her, all her friends have been coming by and, you know, making themselves available,” Murray said.

    During Friday’s West Memphis football game, people are encouraged to wear purple in Jatava Murray’s honor. 

    On Saturday, there will be a candlelight vigil at the scene of the crash.

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