Ole Miss volleyball player dies in car crash

Published 10:01 am Friday, February 12, 2016

An investigation into a two-car crash that claimed the life of an Ole Miss volleyball player Thursday night is ongoing, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Ty Laporte, 23, was killed after apparently pulling into the path of an 18-wheeler operated by Rickey Kirkpatrick, 63, of Rainsville, Alabama, while traveling north on Highway 7 in Benton County, MHP Master Sergeant Ray Hall said in a release. Troopers responded to the crash at the intersection of Highway 7 and U.S. Highway 72 at approximately 8:40 p.m.

Hall said Kirkpatrick wasn’t hurt in the crash.

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“To lose a young person so early in life is tragic, and we are saddened to lose a special member of the SEC family,” Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “As a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Ty Laporte represented Ole Miss and the SEC with excellence both on the court and in the classroom. The SEC extends it sympathies to her family, her teammates and coaches as well as her classmates and the entire University of Mississippi community.”

Said Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by Ty’s death. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her teammates, coaches and our staff during this difficult time. Everyone in the Ole Miss family offers our deepest sympathy to everyone who was touched by Ty’s amazing and infectious spirit.”

Laporte finished her career this past fall, helping lead the Rebels to consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in nearly three decades. An AVCA Honorable Mention All-Region as a senior, Laporte ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in hitting percentage and finished her career third all-time in program history in block assists (280) and total blocks (334) and fifth in kills (999).

“Our volleyball family is so heartbroken today with this news,” Ole Miss volleyball coach Steve McRoberts said in statement. “Ty’s smile would light up the room, and her passion was contagious. She was loved by all of her teammates and coaches. Ty will be greatly missed by not only the volleyball team but the whole Ole Miss community.”

Laporte, a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2014 and 2015, was also a four-year member of the track and field team. She ranks ninth in school history in the outdoor high jump with a career-best clearance of 5-7.75.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.