Lafayette student dies at popular Memphis entertainment center

Published 3:45 pm Monday, November 14, 2016

A church youth group outing turned tragic for a Lafayette County resident Saturday when a 17-year-old girl became unresponsive after riding an attraction at Memphis Incredible Pizza Company.

Caitlin Rose Williams was found unconscious after riding on an attraction at the popular family entertainment center. She was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Bartlett where she was pronounced dead.

The Shelby County Coroner’s Office would not respond to questions Monday as to the cause of Williams’ death.

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Williams was a junior at Lafayette High School where she was a member of the LHS Anchor Club and served on the Annual Staff.

LHS principal Glenn Kitchens described Williams as a “champion of all people.”

“She passed away doing what she loved, with people she loved — living large, embracing life and anticipating the Kingdom,” Kitchens said.

On Monday morning, Kitchens addressed the students at LHS, informing them of Williams’ death and offering them time to get together and share stories and memories of Williams.

“She held strong convictions and passionately defended the things that were dear to her; always showing respect in her discourse and yielding to others for their perspective,” Kitchens said of Williams. “In addition to championing others, Caitlin was a champion in life, having overcome adversity and channeling her energy into strength for both self and others … She was witty, caring, inquisitive and it was always a joy to visit with her and engage in good conversation about events and issues. She was confident in her faith and gracious in sharing that faith with others.”

Memphis Incredible Pizza did not immediately respond to inquiries Monday.

Williams is the daughter of Nikki and Even Williams of Oxford and the granddaughter of Denise and Johnny Knighton of Oxford and Angie and Randy Williams of Savannah, Georgia.

She participated in the William Winter Summer Youth Institute during the summer of 2016.  Outside of school, she enjoyed fishing with her “Pops.”

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Yellow Leaf Baptist Church with the Rev. Ben East and the Rev. Shane McGivney officiating. Burial will follow in Yellow Leaf Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Waller Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions in William’s memory may be made to The William Winter Institute, The University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS or by visiting and selecting “Make a gift.”

This is the second death of a Lafayette student since school started. Middle school student Walker Atkinson, 14, died in August after the car he was driving flipped over.

Read William’s full obituary here.