The family of Kinsee Rooker gathered outside her home Tuesday afternoon talking about the 14 year-old Shenandoah Community Schools student’s love and dedication.
Laura Rooker said she arrived at work Tuesday morning to a phone call from school officials about her daughter. After several attempts to reach them, she drove to the high school in Shenandoah, where her husband told her Kinsee Rooker was hit and killed by a car during an early morning cross country run near Highway 2 and Avenue A south of town around 7:15 a.m.
“Most of the time she was harder on herself than anyone else could have been,” Rooker said, remembering her daughter. “[If she were here now] she would be trying to comfort me. And she would be telling me that she's with a better place and she's with her grandpa.”
Rooker’s grandmother, Kay Ross, said her granddaughter loved to run, and was excited about cross country during her freshman year. She also said one of Kinsee Rooker’s many gifts was the ability to comfort others above all else.
“Even when someone was hurting, she could just go over and give that comforting touch, and say, 'It's going to be okay,’” said Ross.
Shenandoah High School opened to students needing grief counselors Tuesday following the news of Kinsee Rooker’s death. The district also cancelled activities.
In a statement Tuesday, Shenandoah Community Schools Superintendent Kerri Nelson said, in part:
“This morning during X country morning run there was a tragic accident involving one of our students. She was hit by a car and very sadly, she did not survive. As a district, we are heartbroken and want to express our sincere empathy toward the family. Our hearts and prayers are with them…”
Neighbors said the stretch of Highway 2 has been popular for cross country runners for decades.
Iowa State Patrol confirmed the investigation into the crash continues. They have not filed charges against Brent Allen McKinnon, 27, of Clarinda who was driving the car.