Unexpected boon

Published 12:14 pm Wednesday, April 9, 2008

By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
Marissa Nicole Ritchie had a scholarship to Jefferson Davis Community College this fall and a job working with children at the YMCA, where co-workers said she was “loved by all.”
The 18-year-old also had a date to the T.R. Miller prom this past Saturday night, but the flowers that were meant to go to the dance will instead be carried to her funeral today.
Ritchie, a Brewton resident, died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Friday. The accident injured her passenger and friend, Brittany Lynn Pugh, 15, also of Brewton.
According to Alabama state troopers, the accident occurred around 10:15 p.m. about seven miles north of Brewton on U.S. 29. Ritchie was driving a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am. Both were transported to D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital. Ritchie died as a result of her injuries, and Pugh was treated for her injuries, troopers said.
Ritchie, who had attended W.S. Neal High School for a short time, was the daughter of Angelia and Eddie Hammac of Brewton and Charles and Tammy Ritchie of Mobile. Pugh is the daughter of Cindy Pugh of Castleberry and is a sophomore who attends W.S. Neal High School.
Ritchie had attended school at Mary G. Montgomery in Mobile and only transferred to W.S. Neal this past year, Elder said. Ritchie left Neal to be home schooled and just earned her general equivalency diploma last week. She had received a scholarship and planned to attend Jefferson Davis Community College next fall.
Ritchie had been planning to attend the T.R. Miller prom on Saturday night and already had her dress and her flowers ready. The students at the prom held a moment of silence in her memory. Elder said the flowers her niece would have worn will be taken to her funeral today.
Ritchie worked as a counselor at the Brewton Area YMCA with the preschool and after-school programs, work Elder said her niece loved.
Vivian Layton, program director at the YMCA, sent a letter home to parents to let them know about Ritchie's death and about how much she cared for the children.
The accident is still under investigation by Trooper Wesley Davis of the Alabama Highway Patrol, but no further information was available Tuesday.

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