Archived Story

Young accident victim remembered by Dadeville coaches and friends

Published 7:42pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Dadeville Tigers are mourning the loss of one of their most accomplished athletes.

Karmeshae Thomas, 19, was killed in an automobile accident on Aug. 10 when the 1998 Olds Regency she was driving left the roadway and struck a tree.

Known as “Meshae” amongst friends and family, Thomas is the third member of the Dadeville Class of 2013 to have passed away.

According to DHS volleyball, track and assistant basketball coach Sabrina Milligan – who had coached Thomas in some facet since the sixth grade – she was the epitome of what a student-athlete should be.

“She was one of those kids that you hated to see graduate and leave your program. As an athlete, she was fundamentally sound and she moved like a stud compared to the rest of the kids,” Milligan said. “On top of all of that, she was an A student. She was a kid who wanted to do well. To play three sports and have a child as a teenager, she refused to slip through the cracks. She was dedicated to her sports and to the classroom.”

Today would have been Thomas’ third day of her sophomore year at Southern Union Community College, where she attended thanks to a volleyball scholarship.

Playing volleyball, basketball and competing in track and field, Thomas quickly became one of the most respected athletes at Dadeville High School, Milligan said.

In addition to being a natural leader, Thomas’ play had served to inspire many of her teammates.

“She was a leader and a hard worker … I remember one season where she wasn’t able to compete in track for much of the year because she twisted her ankle badly during basketball season – it was the year we made the Final Four (in girls basketball),” Milligan recalled. “But late in the track season, about April or May, she decided she wanted to compete. I had her as the anchor leg of our 4×400 relay team. She wasn’t the fastest, but the rest of team was so inspired by how hard she worked to get back … we ended up setting the school record in that event.”

This wasn’t the only time Thomas was able to uplift her fellow Lady Tigers in competition.

“We once went up to Beauregard for the area championship in volleyball – they had beaten us in the regular season. We were down two games to none in the area final, and she started making hustle plays that helped us rally,” Milligan said. “We ended up winning the final three games, with the last one being 18-16. With her play, Meshae made the difference, and she was able to get us emotionally involved.”

Milligan considered Thomas one of her favorite athletes, and like many others, was crushed with the news of Thomas’ passing.

For Milligan, it was more than losing a former player.

“I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night. At times, I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “It was just a blow. It was like losing a family member – I had known her since she was in the sixth grade … I felt like I had lost my own child.”

In addition to being a top-tier student and athlete, Thomas’ greatest attribute according to Milligan was her personality. Thomas was one of the most well-liked students at Dadeville, she added.

“She was genuine. She was genuine to everyone, and she liked everyone. She treated everyone with a kind heart,” Milligan said. “She had such an outgoing personality, and she was just a joy. It didn’t matter who you were. She had such a beautiful spirit and was always smiling.”

As debilitating as Thomas’ passing is, Milligan said the Dadeville and Camp Hill community will lean on one another as they work to deal with the third loss of a DHS 2013 graduate.

“It’s just a tragedy all around, but we’ll get through it,” Milligan said. “The good Lord is going to help us do it.”

In memory of Thomas, Southern Union will retire her volleyball jersey number during their first home game on Sept. 8.

Thomas will be laid to rest on Sept. 3 at New Canaan Baptist Church in Camp Hill.