Family grieving deaths of Henry County high school student, friends after crash

Katrina Owens’ family spent hours calling and texting her phone after she didn’t come home from school Wednesday afternoon.

By that evening, two detectives and a coroner knocked on the door of their Henry County home.

They were there to deliver the news that a Nissan Altima containing five Eagle’s Landing High School students had wrecked after it left Oak Grove Road and struck several trees about 3:15 p.m.

Katrina, 15, died on impact.

Her boyfriend, 16-year-old Kenderrias Dodson, who played on the school’s baseball team, and her best friend, 15-year-old Jordan Brown, were also killed on impact in the crash. Kendarius Jackson, 16, died in the hospital Friday, police said.

The one survivor, a 15-year-old girl, remains at Grady Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

“(Katrina’s) mom (Yolanda) was real strict on like curfews and things of that sort because I mean, she’s still a little girl. She didn’t just let her go anywhere without permission,” Katrina’s aunt, Rita Owens, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via phone Friday morning. “At the time, she didn’t even know that she was even in the car.”

As a freshman, Katrina played on the school’s lacrosse team and planned to join the dance team. Every morning, she listened to music and wrote motivational quotes on her mirror as she got ready to take the bus to school. Currently on her mirror is written “Smile every day” and “I (heart) me.”

The last time Rita saw Katrina was that morning. When she returned home from work, she was expecting to greet Katrina just like every other day.

But when Katrina wasn’t home, Rita knew something was wrong. She and Katrina’s mother began calling and texting her. It was rare for Katrina not to respond, Rita said.

When the little brother of another student who was involved in the wreck knocked on their door and told them his sister was in the hospital, that’s when Katrina’s family started to worry.

They began calling hospital after hospital. At some point, Yolanda decided to drive to a hospital to check for Katrina, but she soon got a call from authorities asking her to return home, Rita said.

“We were hoping that she was in jail,” Rita said. “We were hoping for something of that sort instead of the actual news we got.”

Coming to terms with reality has been far from easy. Rita said nothing feels the same anymore. Katrina was constantly talking, sharing about her day and always brightening up any room she walked into.

“It was never a dull moment in the house as long as she was there. There was always some type of good energy that was brought whenever she was around, you could feel it,” Rita said.

Planning a funeral is the last thing the family wants to think about. Barely able to enter Katrina’s room, which she shared with her younger sister, the family is not ready to say goodbye.

“It just comes to the time you have to actually put the body away and realize the whole concept of her not being here,” Rita said. “She’s still young, she hasn’t even had a life to live. It’s still shocking,”

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