Victim in fiery Siegen Lane crash was traveling grief counselor

Victim in fiery Siegen Lane crash was traveling grief counselor
Stephanie Payne was killed when an 18-year-old intentionally rear-ended her vehicle at a stop light. She was a traveling grief counselor. (Source: Josh Sanderson/KNOE)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A woman killed in a fiery crash Monday night used her daughter’s death to inspire others, even on the day she died.

Stephanie Payne, 51, was killed on July 22 in a wreck on Siegen Lane. Jack Jordan, 18, told police he intentionally rear-ended her at a stop light in an attempt to kill himself. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Payne worked as a children’s psychologist in schools for more than two decades, but became a sort of travelling grief counselor after her daughter died from a freak infection. She spoke at dozens of churches and community centers across Louisiana, and had plans to write a book.

She also hosted a podcast and wrote a blog, called I’m Alive 2 Thrive. She said she used her own experiences to inspire people who may feel “stuck” in their current situations.

Her final post came hours before her death.

“I give myself grace to heal and find that I begin to move forward, ever so slowly, but moving forward, indeed," she wrote after reflecting on her daughter’s death.

“She just wanted to bring out the best in every person she met and she took that to the next level with what she was doing,” Avery Davidson, who worked with Stephanie’s husband at the National Farm Bureau, said. “She genuinely cared about what you had to say and what you might be going through.”

“I am and will always be the wife of Tim and the mother of Savannah and Isabella,” Payne wrote on her website.

Stephanie Payne was killed when an 18-year-old intentionally rear-ended her vehicle at a stop light. She was a traveling grief counselor.
Stephanie Payne was killed when an 18-year-old intentionally rear-ended her vehicle at a stop light. She was a traveling grief counselor. (Source: Josh Sanderson/KNOE)

You can read more about Payne’s organization here.

Watch a 30-minute video describing why Payne started the program and her mission statement.

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