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Wreck Kills Keeneland Employee

By Todd Van Campen And Shawntaye Hopkins


Fri, Oct. 13, 2006


Kathleen Riley Torok would have been 46 next week.


But the Keeneland employee and Lexington resident was killed yesterday morning when the driver of an ice truck ran a red light and struck her BMW at the intersection of Boardwalk and New Circle Road, said Sgt. Jay Postlewaite of the Lexington police.


The accident happened at 8:10 a.m. on New Circle Road near Russell Cave Road.


A Home City Ice truck ran a red light on the inner loop of New Circle Road at Boardwalk; the truck smashed into the driver's side of Torok's four-door BMW 528i sedan in the intersection, Postlewaite said.


The force of the collision was such that the truck pushed the car 255 feet.


The truck driver, Joe Sheppardson, 19, of Stamping Ground, might have suffered minor injuries, but he refused treatment, Postlewaite said.


He said the sun was low on the horizon at the time of the crash, possibly limiting the truck driver's ability to see the traffic signal. An investigation will determine whether charges should be filed.


Alcohol is not suspected as a factor in the crash, Postlewaite said.


Torok was pronounced dead at the scene, the Fayette County coroner's office said.


"Kathleen brought joy to every aspect of her life," said Rogers Beasley, director of racing at Keeneland, in a news release. "She was such an important person to so many people -- to her family and to us, her Keeneland family."


Torok joined the Keeneland staff full-time in August 2001 as Beasley's administrative assistant.


Torok graduated from Henry Clay High School and University of Kentucky.


She was a member of Junior League of Lexington and was a former chairwoman of its annual horse show, Keeneland officials said.


She was also a longtime volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House.


Before joining Keeneland, Torok and her family owned and operated Travel House, a Lexington travel agency.


"Kathleen had a wonderful approach to life," Keeneland CEO Nick Nicholson said. "Her positive attitude was contagious. We are sad beyond words.


Survivors include her husband, Dale.


Torok's niece Stella Seals was reached at the family's home yesterday afternoon.


"She was truly loved by friends and will be dearly missed, "Seals said.



Editor’s Note: The following is the obituary from the (Lexington) Herald-Leader.


Kathleen Riley Torok, 45, wife of Dale W. Torok, daughter of Shirley and Bill Riley died tragically Thu, Oct. 12, 2006. Born in Kansas City, MO she was a graduate of Henry Clay High School and the University of Kentucky. She was employed as the administrative assistant to the Director of Racing at Keeneland, a member of The Junior League of Lexington, and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.


Along with her husband and parents she is survived by three sisters, Donna R. Gess (David), Lexington, Diane R. Milburn (Ron) Georgetown, KY and Molly Buquo (David) Mason, OH. To her sisters' children, she was always "Boo Boo", an aunt as well as a second mother to Kelly C. And William Tyler Gess, Lexington, Casey L., Emilie K., Jonathon R., and Holly P. Milburn, Georgetown, KY, and Marielle N. and Anne M. Buquo, Mason, OH. She leaves four brothers & sisters-in-law, Duane F. Torok (Peggy), Rosellen M. Shelton (Ken), Karen E. Kelley, Ronald S. Torok (Shirley) and 9 nieces and nephews.


Kathleen was a bright light to all and will be greatly missed.


A memorial service will be held at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Harrodsburg Road, Mon at 12:30 p.m. Memorial contributions can be made to The Ronald McDonald House, 550 Cooper Drive, 40502, or The Junior League of Lexington Bodley-Bullock House Garden, P.O. Box 687, Lexington, KY 40588, or the Lexington Humane Society, 1600 Old Frankfort Pike, Lexington, KY 40510.

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