LEXINGTON, Mo. -- Relatives of a teen killed in a crash in Lexington this week have identified the 16-year-old as Desirae Holder.
On Thursday, Desirae’s family and friends gathered at Lexington United Methodist Church to remember her and pray for all those touched by Wednesday’s crash.
“Desirae was bubbly, sarcastic, joyful -- she was just happy all the time,” said Crystal Holder, Desirae’s mother. “She always had something to say. She was kind of the light of our family, beautiful, talented. She had the voice of an angel.”
“She was the most beautiful, loving, caring, confident person I knew, and I can’t bear living without her,” added Dakota Holder, Desirae’s youngest sister. “She was just so beautiful.”
On Wednesday, Desirae was one of five teens leaving Lexington High School, off Highway 24, when the driver of the Jeep they were in pulled out in front of an oncoming truck.
Desirae died and two other teens were seriously injured. All three were not wearing their seat belts, according to authorities.
“She had a lot of life left, and it was tragically taken too early,” said Danny Eaton, a first responder called to the scene. “We lost two other teenagers in ’92 when I was in school, so all of that comes rushing back for those of us who were in school that time, and it was like it happened yesterday.”
“It’s very difficult,” said Terry Cook, pastor at Lexington UMC. “You can imagine the emotions from the grief from losing someone to the tremendous grief of the young man who was driving, who felt responsible.”
Cook said when tragedy hits a town as small as Lexington, where there are fewer than 5,000 residents, the community leans on one another.
“The police officers are family. First responders were family, so there was a connection so deep in the community that everyone was just in need of some prayers and support,” Cook said.
The Holder family moved to Lexington, which is about an hour east of Kansas City, six months ago. They say the outpouring of love from the community is getting them through this tough time.
“I grew up in a small town in Odessa, and I wanted my kids to grow up with that small-town value that I had,” her mom said.
Desirae’s twin brother said he’ll miss the playful relationship he had with his sister.
“[I’ll miss] her arguing with me, her telling me do her hair, her coming up to my face and trying to pop pimples every day,” he said jokingly.
The family is hurting, but they’re thankful more lives weren’t taken. Desirae’s mom said she hopes her daughter’s death will remind more teens to buckle up.
“I pray to God all of these kids know to never get in a vehicle without a seat belt,” she said. “It doesn’t look cool, slows down the dancing but it saves lives.”
If you would like to help Desirae’s family cover her funeral expenses, click here.