She’s funny without even trying

Katie Autry had small feet.

She liked R. Kelly.

She confused Amish and Islamic.

For Danica Jackson, those are the memories she’ll hold on to as her roommate heals. Autry, a Pellville freshman, was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville last night after suffering burns in a Poland Hall fire early yesterday morning.

The women have lived together in room 214 since last semester.

As of last night, Autry was in a medically induced coma and was listed in critical condition.

That leaves Jackson holding on to the quirky side of her injured roommate.

“She’s funny without even trying,” said Jackson, an Elizabethtown freshman. “I’ve been without her for a day, and I already miss her like crazy.”

Autry’s father, Jim Inman, said she was a cheerleader in high school and was studying dental hygiene. Her major was listed as undeclared. Inman is the director of the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center.

“We think the world of Katie,” he said. “I don’t know what else I can say other than that we are very concerned and that she is in our prayers.”

Autry found things to do on campus once she arrived.

She worked at Freshens in Downing University Center, said Andrew Howard, a freshman from Antioch, Tenn.

A Freshens supervisor declined to comment about Autry.

The news hit hard in Autry’s hometown.

Martha Hardesty, a guidance counselor at Hancock County High School, said she was shocked at the news of Autry’s injuries.

“With something like this, in such a small community, it touches all of us,” Hardesty said. “Especially with someone like Katie, who is so well liked.”

Autry’s younger sister, Lisa, is a junior at Hancock County. Hardesty said the school plans on having counselors on hand to assist students who are upset about what happened to Autry.

She was a member in Students Against Drunk Driving and would often attend prayer services, Hardesty said.

Hardesty said Autry and her sister are foster children.

Hancock County Sheriff Dale Bozarth said the news about Autry was extremely upsetting.

“They are a great family, and Jim’s a hard worker,” he said. “He’s had a lot of tragedy in his life. I hope everything goes well for him.”

Kevin Lasley, a math teacher at the high school, said Autry was a member of the Beta Club.

“She was kind of quiet,” he said. “She was well liked by her friends and other students.”

Bob Kerrick, principal at Hancock County, said Autry was friendly, but also shy and withdrawn.

“She had a wonderful smile,” Kerrick said.

Jackson saw a more outgoing Autry.

When the day comes for one of the roommates to tie the knot, Jackson said the roommates have both chosen an offbeat venue for their bachelorette party.

Chucky Cheese.

The duo had more in common than their sense of humor.

They often shop together and prefer to buy clothes at Abercrombie and Fitch. They always watch the sitcom “Golden Girls” together. They share an affinity for the singer John Mayer, too.

“She was just goofy,” Jackson said affectionately. “She could find ways to make the worst situation and turn it around and make it not a big deal.

“She could make you laugh about anything.”

Herald reporter Shawntaye Hopkins contributed to this story.

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