GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Hearts remain heavy in Gautier as people continue to cope with the loss of two community members.
Wednesday morning, 27-year-old Ashton Johnson and her youngest daughter, Kinsey, died in a tragic accident on Interstate 10 in Jackson County. Since the accident, the outpouring of support for the family has been touching.
Paige Roberts spent five years working with and getting to know Johnson through the College Park Elementary School PTO. Roberts said Johnson may have been in a young, vibrant body, but she was a bit of an old soul.
"That was the part that I think those of us that were a generation or two ahead of her kind of still connected with her because of that old soul quality," Roberts said.
She also joked about how much of a busy body Johnson was and how she smiled at the thought of her sweet baby girl, Kinsey.
"Ashton was on the go, slightly over caffeinated and often plugged in as you would expect any 20-something-year-old to be. Kinsey, you know, she was four. What is sweeter than a 4-year-old little girl," Roberts said with a smile.
Many who knew Johnson say she was fiercely devoted to her family, friends, community and church. Roberts described the news of the sudden deaths in one word.
"I think the best way to describe all of our reaction was shock," Roberts said shaking her head. "When you hear of a fatal accident on I-10, you usually assume it's someone traveling from out of town, even out of state. To hear that it was Ashton and Kinsey was just mind blowing."
A family of four, now only two, is left to cope with the unexpected loss, but community members say the mother and daughter won't be forgotten anytime soon.
"Romans 12:12 says, 'Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer,' and I thought, 'Well, the patient part is maybe a stretch for Ashton, but she was certainly joyful in hope and faithful in prayer,' and that is a testament to her," Roberts said with a nod and smile.