Lauderdale County woman dies in sudden, shocking accident

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. — The fourth of July turned tragic in Lauderdale County when a mother and wife died in a sudden and shocking accident.

Michelle Rankin never saw it coming.

The 44-year-old was riding a four-wheeler down Highway 87 right along side of her farm.

That's when a deer jumped out from the trees and knocked her off the vehicle.

Rankin hit her head on the road.

The impact was fatal.

Friends say she was the hardest working woman they know, both as a farmer and as a teacher at Brighton High School.

They say she was a kind person who was always fun to be around.

"She would tell us a story that she just pulled a cow or delivered a cow and a calf," Rankin's friend, Mary Cass Stewart, said. "There was noting that that woman could not do."

Rankin was also described as a loving mother and wife.

"Their son JD right now is being their rock, and he's being strong for everyone," Stewart said.

Rankin was deeply rooted in her faith.

Family members say she was singing at church's service last Sunday.

"The accident, it truly shows that you never know when your day might come," Stewart said. "We think today is a normal day, and it was a normal day until it changed in a split second."

Her pastor, Cliff Marion, at First Baptist Church in Covington is preaching this lesson.

"You take advantage of everyday, of every opportunity with your family and your loved ones."

That's exactly how Rankin lived.

He hopes others do the same.

"If you're going through this life right now, and you're not taking advantage of the moments that you have, you're really gambling," the pastor said.

As you can imagine, this is an incredibly emotional time for Rankin's family members.

So they respectfully asked their pastor to speak on their behalf.