Savannah Nash, 16, will be most remembered by her smile, said the friends and family of the teen who was killed in crash May 16.
“Even when her life wasn’t going the best or she wasn’t happy, she always had a smile on her face. That is how everyone knew Savannah,” said Brian Raynard, Nash’s youth pastor from Church on the Rock in Harrisonville. “She laughed all the time – she couldn’t help herself. She would light up a room.”
Investigators with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the crash occurred at 4:19 p.m. when Nash, driving a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser, was turning left at Walker Road to go northbound on Highway 7 in Harrisonville when she pulled out in front of the path of a 2003 Freightliner semi tractor trailer, driven by Gary Moberly, 60, of Clinton.
The truck driver attempted to stop but was unable to brake in time.
Nash was pronounced dead at the scene. Moberly was not injured.
The incident occurred just east of Interstate 49, about 50 yards from Nash’s home.
The victim was a freshman at Harrisonville, according to the school’s spokeswoman.
Nash had just received her driver’s license earlier in May.
Investigators said they found an unsent text message on Nash’s cell phone, and were investigating to determine whether texting and driving was a factor in the crash.
The area where the crash occurred was also under construction, but the MSHP said the reconstruction report of the crash, which will be a comprehensive review of all aspects of the crash analyzed, won’t be be completed for at least 30-45 days.
Friday morning, tears dripped from the faces of many as several hundred students, staff and family members mourned the loss of a daughter, student and friend, as they gathered for a prayer vigil near the flagpole at Harrisonville High School.
Wearing Nash’s favorite colors, green, blue, orange and yellow, gatherers prayed quietly as others wept.
Friends and family lended hugs of comfort to each other.
After about 20 minutes of silence, Nash’s father, Paul Nash, thanked everyone for coming together.
“She is going to be very well missed,” he said. “She loved Jesus more than she loved anybody or anything in this world. I know Savannah would be smiling like crazy because that’s all she ever did.”
Raynard told students and parents that he would be available to talk and pray in their mourning, before saying a prayer over the students, thanking God for Nash’s life.
“Everyone loved her,” he said.
Raynard said Nash loved worshipping at church.
“That’s what brings me the most comfort right now,” he said. “The place she was the happiest was in worship and that’s what she is getting to do right now. Our youth group is going to miss her.”
Extra counselors and area pastors were available at Harrisonville High School on Friday.
A memorial fund has also been established at Sherwood Bank in Harrisonville to assist the family with expenses.