UK student killed in hit-and-run near campus

By Juliann Vachon

A UK student was killed in a hit-and-run accident early yesterday while crossing the intersection of South Broadway and West Maxwell streets, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.

Connie Blount, 18, of Park City, Utah, was walking west across South Broadway Street at about 2:15 a.m. when a pickup truck hit her and then fled the scene, said Lt. Raymond Roller of the Lexington Police.

Blount, a freshman, was taken to UK Medical Center and pronounced dead at 4:33 a.m., said Sarah Davis, deputy coroner at the Fayette County Coroner’s office.

“We’re devastated,” said Jack Blount, Connie’s father. “We sent Connie out here to get an education and start her life, not end it.”

Davis ruled the cause of death multiple blunt force trauma due to the pedestrian being struck by a vehicle and said Blount sustained a great deal of trauma to her whole body.

Police are investigating the case as a hit-and-run incident and are still searching for the driver and vehicle.

Roller described the vehicle as a light-colored Chevrolet extended cab pickup truck that was last seen fleeing south on South Broadway Street.

Blount’s body underwent an autopsy yesterday, Davis said, but results will not be available for one to three months.

As Blount’s parents traveled to Kentucky yesterday, their oldest daughter Kelley Krohnert, went into labor in Atlanta, Ga. The family welcomed its first grandchild, an 8-pound, 11-ounce girl, the same day they said goodbye to its youngest daughter, Jack Blount said.

“Connie was so excited about being an aunt. She was just thrilled about it all,” he said.

Blount took an interest in hunter-jumper equestrian sports at a young age. She started riding when she was 10 years old and collected more than 150 trophies in her eight years riding, Jack Blount said.

She was a “sweet but strong young lady” who was tenacious, just like her father, said family friend Suzanne Rodriguez of Utah.

Excited to turn her love of horses into a career, Blount came to UK to study equine science and animal science in the midst of Kentucky’s rich horse culture, Rodriguez said.

She brought her two horses, Luke and Sam, to Kentucky and joined UK’s equestrian team.

“Connie really loved UK,” Jack Blount said. “She was really happy to be here and knew a ton of people and was really enjoying campus life.”

Kathleen Reed, president of UK’s equestrian team, said Blount had an infectious type of positive energy.

“Connie was so full of life and would do anything for anybody,” Reed said. “She was so in tune with other people’s feelings, and she would sacrifice her sleep or her time to help out a friend.”

Reed, a finance and business junior, said Blount fit right in with her teammates, who often spent time together outside of the stables.

Jenna Howe, also on the equestrian team, said Blount was a dear friend who brought happiness to those around her.

“Where can anyone even begin to explain how much of a wonderful person Connie is,” said Howe, a special education senior. “Full of life and full of love. I have never met anyone who enjoyed life like Connie.”

Blount touched the lives of “anyone and everyone” she met, Howe said. After news spread of her death, dozens of friends began posting comments on her Facebook wall telling her how much she was loved and how dearly she will be missed. Her father said hundreds of people had called the family to offer their sympathies and let them know what a great person she was.

Erin Whitney said she knew something was wrong when Blount didn’t answer her cell phone yesterday. Holding back tears, Whitney explained that Blount never turned her phone off in case a friend or family member needed her. She was always willing to do anything for anyone.

Whitney and Blount became friends in Utah through work and went to high school together. The two loved getting manicures and pedicures together and spending time with one another, she said.

“I’ll always remember her smiling face and how she was always there for me no matter what happened,” Whitney said. “She was a gorgeous girl.”

Her father said the family appreciates all of the support from Connie’s friends at UK and knows many of them would love to be with Connie as she is laid to rest. But the family will return to Utah with Blount’s body later this week and hold a funeral there.

“We just have to take her home,” he said.

Blount is survived by her parents, Jack and Cindy; a brother, Thor; and a sister, Kelley Krohnert. Olpin-Hoopes Funeral Home in Heber City, Utah is handling the funeral arrangements. For more information, call 435-654-1161.