Jay Community Mourns Three Young People Killed In Collision

Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 8:46 am
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

JAY, Oklahoma – Residents in a Green Country community are mourning three young people killed in a head-on collision.

Megan Cooper, Kyle Lee, and Sean Roper died Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 2 north of Vinita.

All three are from Jay, in Delaware County. Those closest to them – and the city at large – are struggling to understand this tragic event.

"They went for a job interview, and Megan just happened to be the one with the car and took them up there," said Rhonda Miller, a family friend.

Rhonda and Don Miller have known Megan Cooper and Kyle Lee since the siblings were children.

Monday came news they never expected.

Twenty-one-year-old Megan, 19-year-old Kyle, and a friend, 18-year-old Sean Roper, died in a violent, head on collision with a semi-truck seven miles north of Vinita.

"I don't know how you would ever come to actual grips with it," Rhonda Miller said.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says it appears the driver became distracted by something inside the car and drifted left of center into the path of the oncoming semi.

"It's a small area, and they grew up in this area," Rhonda said. "We're just real close knit community; so it's just hard.

Sean and Kyle were seniors at Jay High School. Both loved welding and excelled in athletics. Sean on the football field, Kyle in cross country.

Megan recently graduated from Jay. Snapshots show a beaming young woman, in love with life, her friends say, and a proud mother of two young children.

This tragedy has hit the Jay community very hard. Everywhere we went we found someone who knew either Megan or Kyle. They say they were well known and well liked, just young adults on the verge of their next chapter in life.

"Kids that age, they're just starting," said family friend Don Miller.

"Yeah, just starting their life and Megan with two children and just starting out trying to raise them," Rhoda said. "It's hard."

The Millers say strong friends, strong families, and strong faith will help the community get through the tragedy.

"You just really have to rely on God to give them strength to go on," said Rhonda Miller. "You have to put your faith in God."

"That's the only way I know of you get along," Don said.

The driver of the semi truck, 71-year-old Donald Volkman, of Golden City, Missouri, was treated for head injuries and released.  OHP said Volkman was wearing a seatbelt.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers say Kyle Lee, the driver,  died at the scene. OHP said he was pinned for more than an hour.  Troopers said Lee was wearing a seatbelt.

Passengers Sean Roper and Megan Cooper were not wearing seatbelts.

A funeral for Megan and Kyle will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Jay Bulldog Arena. Services for Sean Roper are still pending.

Accounts have been set up for both families - the Ropers and the Lees - to help with expenses. The accounts are at Grand Savings Bank in Jay. For more information, call 918-253-4844.