Northwest Missouri State students mourn classmate as they return for the spring trimester

Posted at 2:36 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 19:45:07-05

MARYVILLE, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State University students returned to school Monday for the spring trimester missing a beloved peer.

Morgan McCoy, a sophomore from Liberty, was killed when a drunk driver crashed into The Palms, a Maryville bar.

Northwest Missouri State Junior Kelli Cumberledge heard the crash happen but did not yet know of her connection to the man behind the wheel and the woman he's accused of killing.

"I know the kid who was driving the truck, and it's sad on both ends," Cumberledge said.

Alex Allen Catterson is charged with involuntary manslaughter and scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

Cumberledge also knew 19-year-old Morgan McCoy.

"Every room she walked in you could kind of tell that she was there because everybody knew her. She was really bubbly and really outgoing and had like the biggest smile," Cumberledge said.

McCoy's sorority Sigma Kappa made pins in her favorite color, blue, to honor the sophomore. On Monday, Northwest Missouri State President John Jasinski proudly wore one and said McCoy exemplified what it means to be a bearcat. 

"She obviously had such an impact on so many people, and her mother and I just agreed it's incredible that after a year and a half someone could have such an impact on a campus," Jasinski said.

Her death also had a huge impact on students just returning to school.

"I think it's horrible. I mean you just don't know what to think," Nichole Moody, a freshman, said.

Cumberledge just hopes McCoy's death will make people think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking.

"There are always other ways to get around than getting in your car, and it's not worth it. It's not worth it at all," she said.

It's a NWMSU tradition to ring the Class of 1948 bell in memory of students who pass away. The university will work with McCoy's family to schedule a date for bell ringing ceremony.