Rarely does it happen in life that one is called upon to be a hero in a situation where peoples’ lives are at stake, but for Yukon High School senior soccer player Kalie Winstead, that very situation took place when she was just 16-years-old.
In August, Kalie was in Colorado Springs, Colorado, visiting family, friends and an old soccer coach. She had been there for several days when she and her two friends, Brock and Stephanie, decided to get up early, grab some coffee and drive to mountain view point where they could watch the sun rise over the city.
The trio were in two cars. Kalie was in the passenger seat of Brock’s car, while Stephanie was in her own car following them. They arrived to the view point and parked near the edge so they could get a good look out over the city.
Suddenly, another car drove up and parked directly behind them, so they could not drive away. Then the unimaginable happened. Several men got out of the car with guns in hand and began to fire at Kalie, Stephanie and Brock.
“At first, we didn’t know what was going on,” Kalie said. “It happened so fast and there were a lot of banging sounds and windows were breaking and glass was flying everywhere. They were just yelling at us and shooting at us.”
Next, one of the gunmen was able to open Brock’s driver-side door, pull him out of the car and forced him to lie on the ground with a gun pointed at his head. Then, another gunman got Stephanie from her car and had her next to Kalie’s passenger-side door. They were trying to get Kalie’s door open but because of bullet holes all over the door, they weren’t able to pry it open.
That’s when Kalie had to make a decision to try and save her friends’ lives.
“I was able to call 911 and stick my phone in my pants, so they could hear everything that was going on,” Kalie said. “I don’t know how I did it, but I was able to break my passenger-side window with my left hand and grab Stephanie away from the gunman (with a gun pointed at her head) and I was able to get out of the car and throw ourselves over the ledge and down the mountain.”
Kalie and Stephanie went tumbling down the steep terrain hitting sharp, jagged rocks with every bounce, not knowing when or if they were going to stop.
After what seemed like an eternity, they banged up against a large tree and because of the darkness and bushes the gunmen (who were still firing their guns at them) were unable able to see them.
Kalie said she knew she wasn’t going to be able to talk loud on her phone to the 911 operator but she knew she had to say something.
She whispered in the phone and said “I can’t talk, just track my phone and send help.”
The two girls remained still and quiet against the tree, hidden from the gunmen. Suddenly, there was dead silence and then they heard the police had arrived.
At first, they had to make sure it was the actual police and not the gunmen acting like they were the police to draw the girls out from hiding.
Once Kalie and Stephanie figured out it was the real police on scene, they were able to get back up the mountain. They were happy to learn that Brock also had escaped. Once the girls had gone over the ledge, the gunmen were focused on finding Kalie and Stephanie, so Brock was able to flee.
The two girls were covered in blood from cuts all over their bodies from the fall down the mountain and as they were being cleaned by paramedics, the police separated them and askedquestions about what had just happened.
Kalie and Stephanie spent the rest of the day in the hospital.
Kalie decided to cut the remainder of her Colorado trip short and return to Oklahoma.
Since the horrific event, she has had to speak with a private investigator numerous times and has had to go to the Yukon Police Station to give her DNA sample, so they could send it to Colorado to help with the case.
One of the suspected gunmen was recently caught and arrested. Kalie’s backpack, which was in the car, was found with the man.
Shortly after the event, Kalie was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has been dealing with PTSD since the shootings occurred. She underwent physical therapy through November and she was unable to play soccer for several months.
“That was one of the hardest parts to deal with,” Kalie said. “I missed playing soccer so much, I had been playing since I was five and my passion for it got even stronger after everything happened. I would say not being able to play soccer and dealing with PTSD and depression were the hardest things to deal with. It made me realize that every day is a gift. I used to get upset with the little things, but now I don’t anymore. I definitely appreciate my friends a lot more. Every day is precious.”
Kalie said the incident also has had a direct impact on her when she is on the soccer field as well.
“I have more confidence when I am on the field and in the goal now,” Kalie said. “Knowing that I had the strength to get out of that situation gives me a lot of confidence when I’m out there.”
Kalie is the starting goalkeeper for the Yukon High School Millerette soccer team and she verbally committed to play soccer for Southwestern Oklahoma State University in October but has kept it a secret until recently.
“I went and visited there not too long after everything had happened,” Kalie said. “My friend and former high school teammate DaJanae Turner is a defender on the SWOSU soccer team, so after talking with her and talking with their coach Mark Persson, I decided SWOSU was definitely the place for me and I committed.”
Kalie said she is planning on studying criminal justice in college because of what happened to her.
“I want to help people who have been through traumatic experiences like I have,” Kalie said. “A lot of people go down the wrong path after something like that happens and I want to help people make the right decisions.”
Entering her senior year at Yukon, Kalie said she has several goals she wants to accomplish before her time is up in high school.
“I want to be a team captain this year,” Kalie said. “I also want to make a deeper run in the state playoffs and make the All-State team. That would be really awesome to do all of those things my senior year.”
Kalie added that her high school coaches, Steve Scott and Antoine Williams, have been “incredible” in helping her and being there for her as she recovers from what happened.
Scott said Kalie has shown tremendous toughness and strength throughout this process.
“Kalie is special,” Scott said. “God prepared her to be able to handle something like this. She is incredibly strong and incredibly tough. She has excelled in an experience where not many people would.”