TOWSON, Md. — Dozens gathered at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology to celebrate the life of 17-year-old Kayla Perry who was killed this week by downed power lines after hitting a BGE pole.
“It was devastating. We were looking for her because I didn’t hear from her,” said Shantae Mitchell-Dow, Kayla’s mom. She said every day she tells her daughter to text her when she get to school. She was a senior at Carver. Tuesday morning, she never made it.
“October 22nd broke my heart in a way that I can’t even put into words,” said Kaiya Vickers, Kayla’s best friend. Vickers helped Kayla’s mom track her phone when Kayla wasn’t working and the school confirmed her daughter wasn’t in class. At first her phone pinged at the crash site near Loyola Blakefield then it pinged at GBMC so they immediately rushed over.
"As we was getting off the exit I saw the car and my heart just shattered,” Vickers said.
Kayla’s mom said they were in GBMC for some time before they found out.
"The police came in and a chaplain and I just lost it," she said. "I couldn’t believe it.”
Kayla died at the hospital but her spirit lives on with all the people who came to her vigil Friday night.
“Kayla was Kayla! There’s nobody like her and she was just an amazing person to be around. She touched my life in ways that nobody will ever understand and I miss her so much but I know she’s still here,” Vickers said.
Standing next to Vickers was Kayla’s other friend.
“I’m older than Kayla but she’s somehow my big sister. She has so many goals, so many more than me. I’m in college I gotta figure my life out but she knew what she wanted to do,” Janae Curtus said.
They said Kayla wanted to be an FBI agent. Curtus added about when she found out what happened to Kayla.
“It was the worst, it was literally the worst experience and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
Members of Kayla's dance team attended, saying they can't imagine dancing without her, but will do every dance for her.
“Kayla we’re gonna miss your smile, your laugh, your loyalty and your love,” one of Kayla’s teammates said.
Kayla's parents said they're clearly heartbroken over the loss of their daughter, but the love and support from the community makes it a little easier to handle.
“The outpouring of love and support we’ve gotten from the community has been tremendous. I’m just so amazed how many people, how many lives Kayla has touched. You know you never really hear or it. You get reports from teachers but to hear it from the kids it’s special,” said Mitchell-Dow. "It’s overwhelming. It’s hard to stay sad because the things people are saying about Kayla and how she touched them it just fills your heart. Of course we have our moment but it’s hard to stay sad.”
“I can’t tell you how much you’ve been holding us down,” said Terry Felix Junior, Kayla’s dad. “It’s been hard but I can hear Kayla now saying ‘Daddy, you got get it together!’ So I’m gonna try to get it together.”
Felix stressed for everyone at the vigil to hug their loved ones, whether they want it or not. He said hug them and let them know you love them.
Police are investigating if the initial crash was caused by slick roads and rainy weather.
Peach said after the crash, Kayla's car was partially airborne, angled up on the guardrail so it would have been anyone's natural response to get out of the car, but they advise people stay buckled up inside the car after a crash until officers arrive and secure the scene.