‘She was the sweetest’

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SOUTH POINT — Her nickname at school was Mittens because she loved cats.

Now the teachers at South Point Elementary are remembering the 10-year-old who lost her life Saturday morning in a multi-car accident on State Route 93.

Angel McGinnis died at Cabell Huntington Hospital Saturday where she, her mother, Marsha, and her younger brother, Brice, had been taken by HealthNet after the accident.

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Marsha McGinnis, 29, was stopped in the southbound lane on State Route 93 at the 10-mile marker when the car she was driving was rear-ended by the Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Christopher Haines, 29, of Oak Hill. Her car then skidded left of center where she was struck by a car driven by Deborah Miller of Columbus. Miller was northbound on State Route 93.

“It was a terrible tragedy,” said Angela Roberts, the fifth-grader’s homeroom teacher. “She loved cats and kittens. She was the sweetest little thing. She was always doing something to make the kids laugh. She will be sadly missed. She was a joy to have around, always in such a funny mood. She had so many little girls who were her best friends. It will be hard for them to handle.”

Brice McGinnis was released from Cabell while their mother remains there in good condition. Miller had been taken to Grant Medical Center by MedFlight but was discharged on Sunday. Haines was not injured.

Monday afternoon Haines appeared in Jackson County Municipal Court where he pleaded not guilty to five charges — one count of vehicular homicide due to alcohol, one count of vehicular homicide due to recklessly causing the accident and three counts of vehicular assault.

Bond was set at $100,000 on each count, 10 percent cash or full surety. Haines was returned to the Jackson County Jail. A pre-trial hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 28.

It was in first grade at South Point when Julie Phillips first taught Angel, who this year was in Phillips’ fifth grade class.

“She was bubbly, always smiling, carefree,” Phillips said. “She excelled in reading. She had a high reading level. It doesn’t quite seem real. I have papers to grade and hers will be one of them.”