To Western Hills senior Addison McCoun, Jill Hurst isn’t just the name of a law or a tragic statistic.
Jill Hurst was one of her best friends.
When Hurst died from injuries suffered after the car in which she was riding was hit by a suspect in a high-speed chase, McCoun knew she had to do something.
What she’s done is work to be sure what happened to Hurst doesn’t happen to anyone else in Kentucky.
House Bill 298, known as “Jill’s Law,” passed the Kentucky House last week by a vote of 84-8. The legislation requires Kentucky law enforcement agencies to develop pursuit policies.
McCoun spoke to the House Judiciary Committee in February in support of the bill.
McCoun and Hurst met at Frankfort's Juniper Hill Aquatic Center.
“We knew each other for a couple of years when she came to the pool, and we became really close this past summer,” McCoun said. “We were both lifeguards, and she loved it.”
Hurst, a 2019 graduate of Anderson County High, died in September, eight days after the accident in Lawrenceburg. McCoun, other close friends and Hurst’s family gathered at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital.
“Mom and I were talking on the way to the hospital the night before they were going to donate her organs,” McCoun said. “Her closest friends had been invited to the hospital for a dance party. She loved to dance.
“We listened to her favorite music, danced, and had a lot of fun. I don’t know if it was on the way there or the way back, but Mom said, ‘You need to make something good out of this.’
“I realized people need to stand up for other people. Not only does it affect that person; it affects a lot of people. The week of Jill’s death, there were six or seven other (high-speed chase) crashes that occurred.”
Rep. James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, is the bill’s lead sponsor, and Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, is a co-sponsor.
“I always thought Rep. Tipton was a great representative for this piece of legislation,” McCoun said. “Not only was he Jill’s representative; he’s an individual that cares for the greater good of the people, and he has a big heart.”
McCoun is familiar with how government works. She’s in her second year as a page for the legislature. She attended Girls State in 2019 and was selected as attorney general. She was the secretary of state for the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association.
The House passed the bill on March 4.
“I was thinking it was going to pass,” McCoun said. “In committee it passed unanimously, so that was a good sign of it passing, but when it was on the floor it was nerve wracking. Anyone who has a bill go to the floor knows it’s nerve wracking. That’s human nature, the fear of failure.
“Rep. (Cluster) Howard read a letter I wrote to Jill, and Rep. Graham explained his yes vote, and that was kind of him.”
McCoun plans to attend college after graduation, and she’s narrowed the schools to Christian Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, or Kentucky Wesleyan College.
She’s interested in the fields of political science and American government, areas where she’s been able to honor her friend’s memory.
“It shouldn’t have happened, and it should never happen again,” McCoun said in her testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.
“We need this so no one ever has to feel this way.”