Police check truck for evidence in hit-and-run

By Juliann Vachon

Lexington police are performing tests on an impounded pickup truck they think may have struck and killed UK freshman Connie Blount early Sunday in a hit-and-run incident, the father of the victim said yesterday.

Police told Jack Blount they impounded the truck Monday night and are now looking for forensic evidence that could determine if it was involved in the incident that killed his daughter.

“I am just happy that they were so confident that they had found the right vehicle,” he said.

Police declined to comment on the situation yesterday but said in a news release that the Collision Reconstruction Unit was “working diligently to follow leads and conclude the investigation.”

Connie Blount, 18, of Park City, Utah, was crossing the intersection of South Broadway and West Maxwell Street at about 2:15 a.m. when a pickup truck, described as a light-colored extended-cab Chevrolet, hit her and then fled south on South Broadway, police said Sunday. Blount died hours later at UK Medical Center from her injuries.

Police said they suspect Connie and her friend, a male in his late teens or early 20s, were crossing at a crosswalk while the light was green for vehicles. Police said the two had been drinking that night, but they do not think that Blount and her friend had enough to impair their ability to walk home safely.

Blount’s body underwent an autopsy Sunday. Toxicology reports that will show whether she was intoxicated will not be available for another one to three months.

Jack Blount said he and his wife traveled to Kentucky on Sunday and stayed until yesterday, meeting with police, doctors and friends who had been with Connie late Saturday night and early Sunday.

Upon arriving in Kentucky, they found a community of support — hundreds of friends, professors, administrators and city officials who wanted to express how much Connie had meant to them, he said. Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for Blount on Monday before the family took her body back to Utah yesterday.

“The amount of support we’ve received is unreal,” Jack Blount said.

Services for Blount are scheduled in her hometown. Visitation will be tomorrow from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Park City Community Church. The funeral is at 10 a.m. Friday at the same location, and Blount will be buried immediately afterward at the Park City Cemetery. All services are open to the public.

Friends from across the country have told the Blounts that they will travel to Park City for Blount’s funeral on Friday, Jack Blount said.

Erin Whitney, a friend of Blount’s who lives in Utah and went to high school with her, said the incident has “rocked Park City to its core,” and it is hard for the community to imagine Connie returning to her home for the final time, unable to speak with the friends and family who were miles away when she was killed.

But the town, which Whitney said has experienced 6 or 7 deaths of young people in the last two years, has a built-in support system. After news of Connie’s death, friends who had left for college or work immediately started reconnecting to help one another through the tragedy, Whitney said.

“It just hurts knowing that she’s coming back here and we’re not going to be able to spend time together,” Whitney said yesterday. “But we support each other with anything and everything.”

The Blounts are working with UK to create a scholarship in Connie’s name that would go to a student studying equine science. Jack Blount said many people have asked how they could donate money in his daughter’s name.

Connie Blount was a horse lover who started riding when she was 10. She collected more than 150 trophies in hunter-jumper equestrian competitions and was on UK’s equestrian team.