UPDATE 10/27/13 @ 9:35 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – More than a year after a car crash killed Kristen Stiltner, 17, her life is being used as an example for others.
“Kristen’s Choice: Judgement House” is a walk-through play at Christ Temple Church in Huntington. While Judgement House is a national organization, event organizers here say they wrote the script for this year’s event based on the events of Stiltner’s life and death, including her decision to become a Christian after attending Judgement House.
Stiltner, who was killed in May of 2012 when a car crashed into trees on Camp Creek Road just outside of Wayne, would have graduated from Wayne High School in May of 2013. Family and friends say she was a unique girl who touched many people.
“[I’m] grateful to be able to be here and to see everyone, and see all the lives that she has impacted and that she will continue to impact with her short life,” Traci Stiltner, Kristen’s mother, said. “I'm so thankful that I was allowed to be called her mommy.”
Visitors to the Judgement House go through scenes in different rooms that show Kristen interacting with friends from school and attending the Judgement House.
“It starts out with her after a volleyball game and she comes to Judgment House with her friends,” Anneliese Caserta, one of the directors of Judgement House, said. “All the way through to the tragedy of the accident, the hospital and then ultimately the reality of life beyond the grave.”
“We've seen people walk out of here with just a straight face, we've seen people walk out of here with tears, just because [of] the emotion in it,” Terry Chapman, who directed the crash scene at Judgement House, said.
Traci Stiltner said she didn’t think she would be able to go through the scenes herself, but that other family members planned to. A group from Wayne Church of God, where the Stiltners attended church, also came to the event.
“Kristen's life impacted more than just the family and our little church. It really impacted the community,” Toney Cox, senior pastor at Wayne Church of God, said.
Some said they hoped Judgement House would make people think about their own lives.
“How we take life for granted and that we never know if we're promised tomorrow,” Ashley Snider, a family friend of the Stiltners who is playing Traci in the hospital scene, said.
The organizers of the event noted that this is a fictional portrayal of Kristen’s life. For example, Kristen was the only person who died in the crash, but the scenes in Judgement House show three people dying in order to show the differences in their decisions and choices.
“Think before you make any choices in your life. Just one little decision […] can change people's lives forever,” Traci Stiltner said.
Judgement House runs through Thursday, October 31 at Christ Temple Church in Huntington. Doors open each night at 5 p.m.
The Wayne County Sheriff said Kristen Stiltner was killed when a car crashed into some trees along Camp Creek Road.
Kristen is the daughter of Wayne Mayor, Dwayne Stiltner. She was 17 years old.
Police said three others were inside the car. No word on their conditions at this time.
Members of the Wayne community gathered at the town hall to show their support Friday night.