OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – A former trooper pleads guilty to manslaughter in the death of a Mississippi State graduate and track star.
Kyle Lee appeared in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Friday, received his sentence and won’t be going to prison.
With Lee pleading guilty, Toni Kersh says she can now move on, but she is forever torn over the loss of her daughter Kaelin.
Toni and her family have been in the fight for justice for Kaelin. Toni and Kaelin’s Godmother Charlotte Collins were at Lee’s hearing when he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Assistant District Attorney Marc Amos for the 16th Judicial District says he was sentenced to 10 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections. All ten years were suspended, and he will be on supervised probation for 5 years.
“I think for Kaelin, justice was served in the fact he took ownership for what he did,” said Toni Kersh.
“At first I was little hmmm,” said Charlotte Collins, Kaelin’s Godmother. “Maybe he should serve, but what good what that do? Toni’s goal was for him to accept accountability and he did.”
Amos says he lost his job at the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and he won’t be able to serve in any other law enforcement position.
“My ultimate goal when I started this journey was for him not be behind the wheel of a patrol car in any capacity in law enforcement,” said Kersh. “I just didn’t want this to happen to any other family.”
Prosecutors say Lee was speeding and wasn’t running his emergency lights or sirens when he wrecked into a Corolla with Kaelin inside on May 7, 2017, killing her. It happened two days after she graduated from Mississippi State University.
Tony Farese, Lee’s attorney, said he was on his way to a call, trying to catch a suspected drunk driver. A tow truck driver said the person was trying to leave the scene. Farese said Lee didn’t have his lights on to avoid alerting the suspect.
Farese says Lee apologized, saying the crash was unintentional.
Toni hopes Lee will take this opportunity and share his story to change the lives of others. Farese says he will contact the Department of Public Safety to teach others about the effects of speeding.
“I feel sorry for such a young person whose life has been destroyed by his own actions,” said Toni Kersh.
The judge also ordered Lee to pay $1,000 in restitution to the Kaelin Kersh Foundation at Mississippi State University and a $2,000 fine.
Toni Kersh also wants law enforcement officers to follow the Kaelin Kersh Act where emergency vehicles must flash their lights when traveling more than 30 miles over the speed limit.