Two Port Lavaca students killed in West Texas rollover

Aug. 2, 2011 at 3:02 a.m.
Updated Aug. 3, 2011 at 3:03 a.m.

A Calhoun High School senior was among two Port Lavaca students killed in a rollover wreck on U.S. Highway 67 near Fort Stockton on Monday evening.

The senior, Kerrybeth Diana Hall, 18, and Matthew Ernest Smith, 21, a Calhoun High School graduate, were killed in a rollover at 6:26 p.m. Monday, 20 miles south of Interstate 10 in Pecos County, according to a report by Cpl. David Hoard of the Department of Public Safety office in Pecos County.

Smith was driving the vehicle, a 2008 Ford F-150, south on U.S. 67 when the front right tire blew out, causing the vehicle to go into a side-skid and overturn, according to the report.

Smith was not wearing a seat belt, but Kerrybeth was, according to the report.

Justice of the Peace Freddie Lujan pronounced both dead at the scene about 7:30 p.m.

As news of their deaths made it back to Port Lavaca, friends of the two recalled their lives.

Friends did not know where the two were going.

"Matt was like a son to me," said Valerie Reese, 45, of Port Lavaca. "He and several of the other kids would come over almost every weekend. They would play video games or swim in the pool, or play board games."

Reese said her daughter and son were pretty close to Smith. Reese's daughter, Courtney Reese, 20, played in the band with him.

"He was very outgoing. He was always there for people, if they needed anything," Reese said. "He liked having fun and having a good time. He liked going to the beach a lot."

Reese said her family hardly slept Monday night after they heard about the wreck.

"My kids were both very upset. They were up all night talking to some of the other kids," Reese said. "He will be very much missed I know that."

Kori Malone, 17, of Point Comfort, is one of the friends Kerrybeth left behind.

Kori met Kerrybeth in elementary school when the girls would hang out together after school listening to music and swapping school gossip.

"I would go over to her house and jump on the trampoline with her and explore their garage until the street light came on. That was my curfew," Kori said.

"I remember once her neighbor at the time told us that this patch of grass was really sweet and tasted good, so we decided to try it," Kori said. She recalled it wasn't too bad. "Then, I came home and my little brother tried it too."

Kori said they grew apart through the years, occasionally seeing each other at the bus stop and in the halls.

"I still can't believe I won't see her in the hallway our senior year," Kori said.

"Kerrybeth was a childhood memory that will never fade away and I cherish the time I had with her."

As she grieves her friend's loss, Kori encouraged others not to take friends or family for granted because you never know when it's anyone's time to go.

"Rest in peace, Kerrybeth, I'll never forget you." Kori said. "I hope all the grass in Heaven is even sweeter and tastier than our little patch that we tried."



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