Teen killed in tragic Anderson Co. crash last year leaves life-saving gift

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 4:01 PM EDT
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LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (WKYT) – September 6 marks one year since a tragic accident in Anderson County.

A man under the influence collided with a car carrying 18-year-old Jill Hurst inside. She suffered critical injuries and died eight days later.

Now, the community is remembering a life lost too soon, while her family shares her final gift that allows her legacy to live on.

Christy Jane Hurst, Jill’s mother, never thought she’d be at her daughter’s gravesite.

“We didn’t just lose Jill but we lost our future with a son-in-law and grandchildren and family trips,” says Christy.

Jill’s grandmother, Olivia Ripy, remembers her thoughts that night.

“When Christy called me I just had a gut feeling,” she says. “I looked up at the stars and it was so beautiful, and I said that you god for giving me such a wonderful family.”

Prior to her death, Jill became an organ donor – a decision no one thought would become so important, so soon.

“Every day is different, it has to have a purpose,” says John Sugrim.

John was given Jill’s heart after being diagnosed with heart failure at 42 years old. He’s been given more time with his three kids, and it’s a gift he says he wants to pay forward.

“Everything I do, Jill is always at the forefront of my thoughts. I always think of her and I doing it together, it’s not just me doing it,” he says.

John drove from Florida to Kentucky to be with Jill’s family on her birthday, bringing her heart back home in more ways than one.

“We feel kind of selfish because, you know, we see her recipients celebrating holidays and special days in their lives, and we don’t have that anymore. But, you know, overall we’re so thankful that she gave the gift of life and that there are families that are not grieving like we are,” says Christy.

Jill’s decision to become an organ donor has also given the gift of sight to two people. Her mother says Jill’s skin tissue and bones will help hundreds.

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