Child, Teen Killed In Pace DUI Crash; Deputy Tried To Stop Driver Minutes Earlier

May 7, 2018


A crash claimed the life of a child and a teenager Sunday afternoon in Pace, about three minutes after a deputy attempted to stop the vehicle speeding and driving erratically on Quintette Road.

The Florida Highway Patrol said 35-year old Kailen Kelly of Pace, was traveling at a high rate of speed when he crossed into another lane and slammed his 2008 Ford pickup head-on into a 2010 Buick driven by 39-year old Melanie Harrell of Pace. Harell’s Buick came to rest in a ditch, while Kelly’s pickup overturned into a ditch on the opposite side of the road and ignited into flames.

Stormie P. Harrell, 7, and Michaela D. Sidney, 17, were killed. Melanie Harrell and 18-year old McKenzie Murphy were seriously injured and transported to Sacred Heart Hospital. Kelly received minor injuries in the crash on Woodbine Road near Dunning Drive in Pace.

A deputy with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office was driving eastbound on Quintette Road in Pace on routine patrol when he observed a speeding vehicle passing him in a no passing zone. according to Sgt. Rich Aloy, spokesperson for the SRSO.

“The driver was also having difficulty maintaining his lane of travel. The deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop but the vehicle did not stop. Due to the extreme safety hazard created by the driver, approaching intersection, and disregard for public safety, the attempt to stop was immediately discontinued,” Aloy said. “As the deputy crested a hill on Woodbine Road, he observed a traffic crash involving the suspect vehicle. Both Deputies in the vehicle proceeded to provide first aid where they tended to the victims and pulled the suspect driver out of his vehicle before it caught on fire.”

Kelly was charged with two counts of DUI-vehicular manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury to another, refusing to submit to a DUI test after license suspension, reckless driving, fleeing/eluding police and other traffic offenses. He remains in the Santa Rosa County Jail without bond.

Pictured top: Kelly’s vehicle following a double fatal crash. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.


38 Responses to “Child, Teen Killed In Pace DUI Crash; Deputy Tried To Stop Driver Minutes Earlier”

  1. ROBERT on May 9th, 2018 9:42 am

    I never could understand why it is charged as manslaughter and not murder…he chose to drive with no license..he chose to get drunk and drive..he knew what the end result could be…I so wish there were harsher tougher laws for DUI. maybe if first time drunk drivers had to do a full year in jail with no exceptions or early outs they would think more before doing it again…this crap of slap the wrist and getting probation does nothing to teach a lesson.

  2. Sad on May 9th, 2018 12:13 am

    Don’t judge someone for thier behavior… Well, I guess you haven’t seen the damage these drunk drivers do in person. I’ve experienced the death of a good friend at the hand of a drunk driver. I’ve also been on scene, working, while dealing with drunk drivers and the innocent people they hurt. I have no sympathy for your demons. Innocent people should not have to pay for your sins. Driving drunk is absurd. Everyone one knows not to drive drunk. Nearly every Public Service Announcement says not to drive drunk. The beer and liquir company’s do commercials saying not to drive drunk.

  3. Cid on May 8th, 2018 1:50 pm

    My heart and thoughts go out to the family. May God’s light shine brighter for them. As it is said “A pictures says a thousand words” the murder’s mugshot says it all. He could really careless. May he burn in hell.

  4. Concerned on May 8th, 2018 1:43 pm

    So sad…. all the lives that have been affected by a careless mistake. I pray for the families of the 2 young girls. I also pray for the family that had no clue their lives would be changed forever due to their father’s selfish actions. His wife is left devastated and heart broken of the loss of the 2 children, and he has 3 beautiful children 7,13,17…they are completely heartbroken, as they too know the children that are deceased.. and with that being said , please leave these poor children alone, they can no more control the actions of their father, as we can control the comments on this post. May God show both of these families peace and try to mend Thor hearts.

  5. AC on May 8th, 2018 12:16 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how horrible an atrocity that someone does; there is always someone condemning those who “judge” that person. You know what, EVERY ONE of us has every right to judge bad behavior in our society – especially when it takes innocent lives! I, as a Christian, may not have the right to judge a persons soul (even though the Bible clearly tells us to judge a tree by its fruit), but I certainly have a right to judge the person’s actions and behavior. And for those who want to throw the Bible at us, perhaps you should read the epistles written by the Apostles Paul, John, James, Peter, and Jude about judging sinful behavior.

  6. tonia on May 8th, 2018 11:00 am

    This has been hard to comment on. In my hesitation, being cut off, as I could not continue, with all the tears coming down the anxiety would get so bad it overwhelmed me. Id stop several times and.walked away..Hard to take in the fact that 2 children of the same family have been killed (as if 1 wouldn’t have been enough? No 1 would have been too many).God have mercy on me if I judge and I am wrong, forgive me. But if these were my children, God have Mercy for I couldn’t be responsible for my thoughts or actions.It’s much easier to sit back read about, be sad for them or. judge him. To Actually live this horrific nightmare, The family that has to bury their babies. I don’t know these people personally but Even not knowing them on a personal level, my heart aches for them greatly..My thinking”What could possibly matter anymore, in this world right now to these parents. I know for me as a parent, there is pretty much nothing in this entire world that could fix me..I can not speak on a been there type of situation, but I can speak as a mother, I love my children with every inch of my entire being (heart and soul) I could never be whole again. I could never enjoy life again. My children being what makes my life worth for the man that made this horrible horrific tragedy become someone else’s life long heartache, I have nothing for be honest it was hard for me to mention anything about him,to evengive him recognition I almost did not. for fear of my own thoughts about him being to overwhelming for me , but truth is I feel nothing for him certainly not pitty..As for the sweet children, I’ll call them.
    ” Two Angels in flight” surely never imagined they would have wings so soon.They must be extra special to the one I call God. Precious in his sight.Their names written in the palm of his hands forever.Tragic for the loved ones that must face life with this tremendous void. For the actions of another person that obviously did not have this kind of love.I cant help but wander, if he is loved by a mother or father?

  7. Mike on May 8th, 2018 7:31 am

    This (person) should be put to death. Expedite his sentencing and save the taxpayers money, he can’t be rehabilitated. Don’t be a snowflake this person killed two people without remorse

  8. john on May 8th, 2018 7:18 am

    You need two deputies in the vehicle in situations like these, one driving the car, the other aiming the shotgun!!!

  9. Grand Locust on May 7th, 2018 11:56 pm

    Nothing changes. My wife lost her cousin who had a 1 year old child to a drunk driver, and now thirty plus years later, impaired people can get in a vehicle and kill children. Ignition interlocks could eliminate over 90% of Dui deaths, but the alcohol and restaurant lobby groups are afraid that “buzzed drivers” who cannot start their car, will hurt their bottom line. We can listen to music, get GPS, have the car tell us when to brake, but proven technology which stops an impaired driver from starting a car gets rat holed by lobbyist. Prayers to the families. This nightmare will not stop until men and women of integrity say “enough”. Now the taxpayers will get a 1 million dollar bill to house this individual and a family will forever be changed… heart is heavy.

  10. User87 on May 7th, 2018 9:42 pm

    I sat next to the 17 year old, she was a very kind and quiet person. I never talked to her much but I remember she was a very decent person with a full life ahead of her. It’s hard to look at this situation without feeling anything but grief. And its even harder seeing her empty desk. I hope everyone recovers from the tragedy. : (

  11. Veronica on May 7th, 2018 9:33 pm

    Sidney was a friend of mine so this is really devastating. This guy has been arrested many times for various things. I hope he rots in jail this time. I’m praying for Sidneys momma & family! i can’t imagine the pain of losing two of your children in one day.

  12. joe utnage on May 7th, 2018 7:17 pm

    seen a similar tragedy many years ago as a member of CVFD , hope to see a similar outcome, praying for all,

  13. Grams on May 7th, 2018 6:10 pm

    This is so tragic on very many levels, the mother and family that has lost these precious children, that they will never be able to hold them again, the police that are way under paid and always a target, to have to witness such horror and suffer the thoughts and dreams they are left with for years, the EMS crews that give of themselves to try and save these children/ people, they even have to give care to the people that cause such suffering , at their own expense of peace of mind and heart ,after their shifts end, the ER staff after they work to try and save the lives and have the most heartbreaking task of telling the parents and brothers or sisters their child didn’t make it, and carrying that sweet little child to the morgue, it’s grueling. These people go home try to sleep after something like this and unbelievably show up for the next shift. Everytime you see these angels that work in these selfless jobs, please pray for Them as well. The teachers that won’t see the child in their class again and try and find a way to tell the little friends at school their friend won’t be back. The family of the drunk man to bear the shame, and care for his children and family. I pray for the family of these 2 precious children that God will give them strength to face the rest of their lives one day at a time, with just the memories of their angels. All of that said DONT DRINK AND DRIVE.

  14. David Huie Green on May 7th, 2018 5:55 pm

    ” SHERRI and all those who judge, does not the bible say “JUDGE NOT LEST YEE BE JUDGED”.”

    No, it never says “yee”

    Since the need for judges is acknowledged, the only to have judges and no Christian to judge would be to restrict yourself to non-Christian judges who are not limited by what they don’t accept. Poor old John The Baptist would have been in big trouble for calling certain people “a generation of vipers.” So would Jesus since he said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts. unto your children,” notice he called people evil. Facts is facts. You are what you do.

    “I know for a fact that YOUR family has ALL had a “enjoyment of numbing his or her self” whether it was drugs, alcohol, stripping, smoking….it’s ALL a numbness.”

    Don’t know her, but getting drunk or stoned or whatever is harm only to self until you decide to endanger other people.

    “Please folks, don’t use your name- else someone will know you or your family. ”

    Naw, I don’t choose to hide in the shadows, but that’s a personal decision.

    David for better people,
    fewer drunk drivers,
    less evil,
    safer children

  15. Cat on May 7th, 2018 5:55 pm

    It is so sad to see others taking lives, hurting others (physically and emotionally) while destroying their own life. The deputy did the right thing by ending the pursuit. Otherwise, it is possible that his patrol car could have also been involved in the crash injuring more or taking more lives. Had this happened, he and the other deputy may not have been able to check on the others.

  16. David Huie Green on May 7th, 2018 5:39 pm

    “They are also paying a price for something that they could not control and could read these comments.”

    And that is also on HIM.

    To condemn people for condemning bad actions is a bad action any way you look at it. Worry about hurt feelings while others are worrying about dead relatives and friends — or even just strangers?

    David for better people

  17. Bp on May 7th, 2018 4:50 pm

    I can completely understand the outrage regarding this story, however, I would like to remind you that this young man has a family that is affected by this tragedy as well. They are also paying a price for something that they could not control and could read these comments. My deepest condolences for all who have been affected. What a sad sad situation. May God bless them all and mend their grieving hearts.

  18. Carl on May 7th, 2018 3:57 pm

    I am amazed at how we find people to be Law Enforcement Officers. Someone is always going to blame them, no matter what they do. Every time there is a police pursuit and an accident happens, they say the Officers should have stopped the chase. Now this guy passed the patrol car, what would make anyone think he would ever stop? These Officers acted properly. Then they tried their best to help the victims. Gentlemen, I know you tried your best. Bob’s Brother said about the “leaders” in law enforcement, “Maybe one of their family will be victim one day”. How disgusting is that?

  19. Cantonment on May 7th, 2018 3:51 pm

    tsk…tsk…tsk…. Yes a horrible tragedy. But SHERRI and all those who judge, does not the bible say “JUDGE NOT LEST YEE BE JUDGED”. I know for a fact that YOUR family has ALL had a “enjoyment of numbing his or her self” whether it was drugs, alcohol, stripping, smoking….it’s ALL a numbness.. all but you I reckon!. Yes the man was very wrong, but who here on earth knows his demon’s? God does and God will judge him, OH and our fantastic governmental (POLITICAL) system.
    Please folks, don’t use your name- else someone will know you or your family. We see the story and North Escambia does the BEST job of anyone in our area reporting, but let’s please, please do not judge .I always heard that those without a sin should throw the first stone…..Is that correct….Or never throw rocks at glass houses…. Pray for ALL families involved.

  20. tg on May 7th, 2018 3:39 pm

    DG could you make that with Guillotine.

  21. anne 1of2 on May 7th, 2018 3:39 pm

    No bond, a judge with a brain, thank God for that at least. This whole story is so tragic it hurts to read it. QuintetterRd used to be so enjoyable to drive on, but not anymore.

  22. Copper on May 7th, 2018 3:06 pm

    Damned if you pursue. Damned if you don’t. At least lights and sirens would give a motorist a fighting chance to pull over or hear or see something is coming their way . Seen this a million times. Don’t chase them and they still crash. Thank grubby lawyers, and politicians for this. And all the dirt bags know it. The Police will not chase anymore.
    I saw where a Policeman was shot at during a traffic stop, a chase ensued, and he was cancelled by a supervisor. Makes my blood boil.

  23. p on May 7th, 2018 2:41 pm

    What happened to the driving with suspended license? The sorry excuse for a human being needs to be put away for life. The more charges , the longer the sentence,

  24. Patricia Dees on May 7th, 2018 2:39 pm

    I have neices, grandneices, great grandneices, nephews, grandnephews, great grandnephews and other love ones who travel Woodbine and Quintet almost daily. This makes my heart felt prayers to the families that much more sincere. May God be with you now and forever, I could be you this day. Sincerely get these people off the road, if law enforcement can keep a forever lookout on druggies, let’s pay up enough to put enough officer’s out there to keep a forever eye on dui drivers.

  25. Michele G on May 7th, 2018 2:34 pm

    To those slamming the deputy you need to remember their hands are tied. Prayers for the family that lost their children, the first responders and everyone who stopped and helped.!

  26. Cynthia Christine Walsh on May 7th, 2018 2:25 pm

    I am so incredibly saddened by this! Two precious young lives taken too soon, parents and families’ lives for both families will never be the same and Mr. Kelly will likely spend the rest of his young life in prison and will most certainly replay these horrific events in his mind for eternity. If this doesn’t cause some people to think twice before driving under ANY influence, then I cannot imagine what would. This entire situation is absolutely heart shattering. God Bless the Harrell family in their time of grief! My prayers are with you all.

  27. mr. reality on May 7th, 2018 2:18 pm

    The oNLY way to stop people from running from the cops is to make the PENALTY so severe, people wont do it.

  28. mr. reality on May 7th, 2018 2:17 pm

    So sad…..CAN YOU READ and the comprehend what you just read?

  29. No Excuses on May 7th, 2018 2:14 pm

    They should have left him in his truck to burn.

  30. re: so sad on May 7th, 2018 1:26 pm

    Re: so sad…you can thank law enforcement policies that tie deputies hands. This happens all the time, pursuits are started and stopped immediately. You can also thank the society that puts the blame of a pursuit not on the person running, the person breaking the law, but on the person trying to stop them before something exactly like this happens.

  31. c on May 7th, 2018 1:08 pm

    What a waste of everything. This guy has ruined his life and destroyed a family.

  32. Tammy on May 7th, 2018 1:02 pm

    Throw the book at him….people if u have to drink please get someone to drive u or just stay at home…prays going out to the family’s of the ones he hit

  33. DG on May 7th, 2018 12:57 pm

    Death penalty…please…

  34. So Sad on May 7th, 2018 12:56 pm

    So the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle but he wouldn’t stop. What is the procedure? I understand the driver was creating a safety hazard but not doing anything is not the answer either. This is so sad. I understand darned if you do and darned if you don’t. If the deputy chased the suspect and the accident occurred then we would be in an uproar that he shouldn’t do anything. Now that he wasn’t aggressively pursued and lives were lost we want the opposite. What can honestly and safely be done to keep this from happening again?

  35. Father of 3 on May 7th, 2018 12:51 pm

    Too bad we don’t have the electric chair anymore. He needs an execution like Dale got in The Green Mile. I applaud the officers for doing what I couldn’t have when they pulled him out.

  36. Sherri on May 7th, 2018 12:46 pm

    What a horrible tragedy! Praying for all the families! Can’t imagine the pain of the parents and families that are suffering, all because someone felt his enjoyment of numbing himself with alcohol or drugs was more important! So sad!

  37. Pat on May 7th, 2018 12:25 pm

    I didn’t know you could refuse a BAC test if if a death was involved. Either way he is going away for a long time, AND will live the rest of his life knowing he took these innocent young lives.

  38. fhp on May 7th, 2018 12:22 pm

    This sorry drunken excuse for a human being should get life in prison what a tragedy for the victims. This drunk has caused irreparable damage to so many lives.

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