Cutting Community Remembers Whitney Welch
Funeral services were held Tuesday, December 22, 1998, at the First Baptist Church in for 16-year-old Whitney Welch, daughter of Greg and Pax Welch of grand daughter of Buster and Sheila Welch of Rotan, Texas. Whitney is also survived by her older brother, Lance. Whitney was killed Saturday evening, December 19, when she and three of her closest friends were involved in a head-on automobile accident on Spur 312 outside of Millsap, Texas. The accident claimed the lives of all four girls. Two died at the scene, one passed away the next day, and the fourth girl died two days later.
On January 5, the Star Telegram, Fort Worth's daily newspaper, stated that the driver of the other vehicle involved in the head-on collision, 40-year-old Ricky Carter of Fort Worth, allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .16 at the time of the accident. A driver is considered legally intoxicated in the state of Texas ff he or she has an alcohol level of .10 or higher. The collision happened at approximately 11 p.m., and it was alleged that Carter was returning from a hunt- mg trip in Stephenville, Texas.
Whitney and the three other girls in the car, Mandi McWhorter, 15, Staci Lee, 16, and Lacy Osina, 17, attended Brock High School where all four were honor students and all four were cheerleaders.
Earlier that evening they had attended a basketball game, then stopped by a Weatherford video store to rent movies. At the time of the accident, they, along with another carload of girls following them, were on their way to one of the girls’ homes to watch the videos.
Whitney's life evolved around more than just those in the community of Millsap and the students at Brock High School with whom she went to school. As the daughter of a trainer, she attended cuttings long before she walked, and spent many of her younger years playing in the back of arenas with the children of other competitors. Her funeral demonstrated the number of friends the 16-year-old and her parents had made through the years.
”So many people came for the service that the church house overflowed to crowds outside," stated Joe Howard Williamson who led the service. "The people of Millsap and the cutting horse community turned out in throngs to remember Whitney and give their support to Pax and Greg."
The First Baptist Church in Weatherford was filled to capacity-both the upstairs and down- stairs pews were packed, and the still others listened to the service from the vestibule. The incredible sea of flowers-touched with pinks, baby blues, yellows and white, that were sent from a multitude of friends and family--also spilled over into the vestibule.
Since two of the other teenagers' funerals were held earlier in the day, Whitney's service began at 4 p.m. With so many people to view the body after the funeral, dark settled in before the entourage reached the cemetery. "I was concerned at first because it was dark," admitted her mother, Pax, 'but it turned out to be so serene and beautiful. The cemetery is on a hill and we could see car head lights winding around for miles.
"Because it was so cold, we all huddled together really close, and that gave me great comfort.
At a basketball game held since the deaths of the girls, the remaining four cheerleaders of Brock High School placed the megaphones of Whitney, Mandi, Staci and Lacy in front of them while they performed in remembrance of their four friends.