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Cary Students Return to School for First Time Since Classmate's Death

Posted May 13, 2007
Updated May 14, 2007

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— Cary Academy students honored a friend as they held a candlelight vigil Sunday for Johnnetta Overton, who died in a crash Friday night.

For many students at the small school, the death was not only unexpected but hard to imagine.

“None of us really understood death until this weekend,” said Overton’s friend Jared Carson.

Police said they think Overton, 17, was on her way to work at the time when she veered off the road, overcorrected and slid into the path of an oncoming truck. They said they don't know why she lost control, but said she wasn’t speeding at the time of the crash. Authorities said alcohol was not a factor.

“I keep trying to justify reasons why,” said classmate Jessica Vyas. “There's no way that you can.”

“It wasn't like she was drinking or smoking or something,” said classmate Lex-Jordan Ibegbu. “You can't say it was just another high school student out partying or something.”

Overton played volleyball. She also was a cheerleader and one of the best shotputters in the state. In fact, she stayed in Wake Forest this weekend for a track meet while her family traveled to Atlanta for her sister's college graduation.

Classmates said they’ll remember Overton as a good kid with an infectious smile.

“Everything she did she wanted to be unique,” said classmate T'sani Watson. “She didn't want to conform to anybody else.”

Grief counselors will be on hand Monday at Cary Academy. Friends have posted a memorial site on Facebook where friends can reflect and say goodbye.

“I felt bad because I didn't ever tell her I loved her before she died,” Ibegbu said. “You just don't think teens, especially teens like us who are hard working, are just going to up and die.”

The baseball team canceled a game Saturday once news of Overton's death made its way through the student body. The team will play that game against Ravenscroft on Monday and dedicate it to Overton.