Today in Starkville in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, Kyle Lee pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Kaelin Kersh.
Lee was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with 10 years suspended and the first five years to be served under post-release supervision. He was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Kaelin Kersh’s Foundation at Mississippi State University. Kersh had just graduated the night of the accident and was a track and field standout at MSU.
Lee lost his job as a law enforcer with the Miss. Highway Patrol. He will not be eligible for another law enforcement job as he will lose his ability to own a firearm.
The mother of Kaelin Kersh spoke exclusively with WJTV about Kyle Lee’s sentencing.
Toni Kersh says, “I think the sentencing was the right thing to do. At the beginning of this journey, I wanted him to take ownership of what he did and he stood before the court today and he took ownership for what he did… and that’s all I wanted.”
The incident occurred in May of 2017, three days after Kaelin Kersh graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in kinesiology and health fitness studies.
A Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper SUV was traveling east on MS 182 to check out a report of a vehicle leaving the road. At the intersection, the SUV collided with the left side of a green Toyota Corolla.
Kaelin Kersh was in the back passenger seat of the Corolla and pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Corolla Noel Collier and passenger Tanequa Alexander were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Former Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Kylie Lee left the scene with moderate injuries.
An accident report filed by the Mississippi Highway Patrol says he was going 68 mph hour in the 45-speed limit zone but a dashcam recorded Lee at 100 mph right before the impact, contradicting the report.
On May 27, The Mississippi House of Representatives passed the Kaelin Kersh Act.
A few days later, the governor signed the bill which requires any operator of an emergency vehicle authorized to be marked with blinking, rotating, or oscillating lights should use blinking, rotating, or oscillating lights when operating the emergency vehicle at a speed over thirty miles per hour over the posted speed limit; and for related purposes.
Toni Kersh says she hopes to bring awareness about how quickly things can happen and how a speeding car can be used as a weapon.
Later tonight, 12 News and Jade Bulecza will have an exclusive interview with Toni Kersh.