Racing Community Remembers Race Car Driver Killed in Crash

SUMMERTOWN, Tenn. - A Maury County race car driver who was killed in a crash over the weekend is being remembered by the local racing community.

Melissa Cothran was a regular on the dirt racing circuit and competed in the Hot Shot division.  The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department said she was racing at the Thunderhill Raceway in Summertown Saturday night, when her car slammed into a wall.  She was treated at the scene by local paramedics, and airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.  She passed away early Sunday.

Thunderhill Raceway posted a statement about the crash online:

“We are deeply saddened by the events that happened at the track last night. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and everyone one that was at the track last night. We hope that everyone will pray and give the family the space they need to deal with this tragic situation.”

Word of Cothran’s death spread quickly through the local racing community.  Many offered condolences on social media, including on the Middle Tennessee Racing News Facebook page.

“It doesn’t matter if I knew her personally, she is part of our family, and she’s gone,” said Terrell Davis, Editor of Middle Tennessee Racing News.  “It’s a very sad time for the racing community, and I don’t think she will be forgotten anytime soon.”

Cothran was a native of Mount Pleasant.  She was a long-time employee at Maury Regional Medical Center.  Maury Regional Health CEO Alan Watson released a statement on her death:

 “The Maury Regional family of employees, physicians and volunteers are deeply saddened to lose Melissa. She was a skilled and knowledgeable member of our staff for 24 years, serving as an endoscopy surgical technologist for 22 years. Her experience, knowledge and compassion impacted countless lives, from patients to colleagues. She was a friend and mentor to many and our prayers are extended to her family during this difficult time.”

The crash remains under investigation.

Cothran’s funeral service will be Thursday in Mount Pleasant.  Twenty-five race car drivers from across the area will escort her body to the cemetery.

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