Over The Rainbow

5K Run Aims To Honor Toddler Killed In Crash

Posted: September 2, 2013

HARRISONBURG — A year ago Saturday, a Jeep Cherokee driven by a 16-year-old boy hopped a curb in the Belmont subdivision and plowed into seven children and adults shortly after a school bus had made a stop.


Kate Beagle, 19 months, was killed in the crash just west of Harrisonburg. The driver involved in the crash, Robert McDonald, was initially convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but later was acquitted on appeal.


Though the crash cut Kate’s life tragically short, family and friends of the Verona toddler plan not only to keep her memory alive, but also to celebrate her life in a positive way.


Angela Beagle, the girl’s mother and a Rockingham County teacher, started a nonprofit organization to remember her daughter and raise awareness about distracted driving.


Kate’s Krew will have its inaugural 5K fundraiser Sept. 21 at Peak View Elementary School.


Proceeds will go toward a scholarship for a local high school student and to help prevent distracted driving through awareness, advocacy and education, according to a flyer for the event.


“We wanted to make sure that we were remembering Kate, but also celebrating her life at the same time,” said Caryn Simpkins, an event coordinator and family friend of the Beagles.


Dubbed Kate’s Krew 5K Rainbow Run, the event will feature raffles, music, games and food, among other activities.


“We have been overwhelmed with community support,” Simpkins said.


Runners will be showered with colored powder during the 5K, becoming “rainbows” themselves by the time they’re done, organizers say.


The rainbow theme of the event stems from the sense Angela Beagle gets when she sees them in the sky, Simpkins said.


“When she sees a rainbow, it reminds her of Kate,” Simpkins said. “She looks at it as a sign ... of God and Kate together.”


The Crash


McDonald, the driver in the crash, was 16 at the time of the Aug. 31, 2012, wreck near the intersection of Nutmeg Court and West Wind Drive. The Jeep he was driving struck Kate, her 3-year-old sister, two 2-year-old boys and a 2-year-old girl and their babysitter, Kristina Glick of Harrisonburg.


A second adult, Oriana Good of Harrisonburg, also was hit. All were injured in the crash.


In January, McDonald was convicted in Rockingham County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court with involuntary manslaughter and given an indefinite sentence. In an April appeal in Rockingham County Circuit Court, McDonald was acquitted in Kate’s death.


Prosecutors argued McDonald was speeding and had the radio blaring when he ran off the road.


His defense attorney argued that McDonald ran off the road because he was an inexperienced driver and had the sun in his eye.


Fundraiser On Tap


For more information about Kate’s Krew 5K Rainbow Run, log on to: www.kateskrew5k.wix.com/rainbowcolorrun.


Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or jhunt@dnronline.com

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