Goodbye to a Cane

During a family vacation in Redington Beach, Fla., rising UM sophomore and rugby player Kelly McConnell was on his way back from watching a late showing of “Predators” when he was killed in a car accident.

At approximately 12:45 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1, 20-year-old Demetrius Jordan, driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, crashed his car into McConnell’s.

McConnell was joined by his father Elroy “Roy” Jr., 51, and brothers Elroy “Roy” III, 28, and Nathan, 24, all of whom were killed instantly.

The vacation had been planned to coincide with McConnell’s birthday along with Nathan and his wife’s fourth anniversary. McConnell had just turned 19 on July 30.

The accident left Roy Jr., Roy III and Nathan’s wives widows, while Roy III’s newborn son and Nathan’s young daughter were left fatherless. McConnell’s girlfriend Celine Parietti, a student at UM, was with the family when the accident occurred.

Friends and family have filled McConnell’s Facebook page with fond memories and loving statements.

“If you can read Kelly’s page, it is my broken heart that is writing this,” McConnell’s grandmother, Patricia Voelker, said.

Students who played rugby with McConnell have also left their condolences. One student summed up her teammates thoughts.

“I know that I speak for everyone on the guys’ and girls’ team when I say you were an amazing person and you will be greatly missed,” Amy Alexander said on McConnell’s Facebook wall.

Alexandra Leon may be contacted at