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Chatham County High School Senior Dies in Wreck

Posted April 27, 2008
Updated April 28, 2008

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— Authorities were investigating a two-vehicle crash that killed an 18-year-old Jordan-Matthews High School senior on Saturday night.

Officials confirmed that Ashley Pyrtle died in a wreck on North Dogwood Avenue in Siler City around 10:30 p.m. There were no other serious injuries. Police did not release any other details about the crash.

Pyrtle was a passenger in a car driven by a friend – and the other car carried three students she knew well, family members said.

"You can't blame it on anybody," Michelle Pyrtle, Ashley Pyrtle's cousin, said. "That's just how it happened, and you don't know why."

Pyrtle was on the honor roll and ran cross country at Jordan-Matthews, relatives said. She planned to go to Appalachian State University in the fall to study pharmaceuticals and to be with her boyfriend.

Michelle Pyrtle remembered her cousin as a fun-loving, popular girl who had gone to her senior prom last week.

"You could tell that she really cared about anything you talked with her about. She was really interested," Michelle Pyrtle said.

Michelle Pyrtle said she wants to focus on the many good times she had with her cousin.

"We're just so much alike and kind of looked alike and just so close in age and best friends," Michelle Pyrtle said. "I just came home as soon as I found out."

Grief counselors will be on hand for students and staff at Jordan-Matthews on Monday and Tuesday. Chatham County students will be out for a previously scheduled teacher work day on Monday.

Pyrtle's funeral will be held Wednesday afternoon at Oakley Baptist Church in Siler City.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Dr. Dataclerk May 1, 2008

    May all young people who drive learn something from this. Just simply obey the rules of the road and streets. Such a tragedy for all involved. May God be with all involved including the classmates and friends at JM.

  • gordonbabe Apr 29, 2008

    The bottom line is that our teenagers need to learn from this! 1) Speed WAS a factor, 2)Seatbelts WERE a factor. 3)Alcohol DOESN'T matter. She would have stayed in her seat if her belt was on. Don't look to WRAL for more details. Considering all involved, you won't get any more than what you have.

    Dying is a fact of life, but we need not take chances and risks with our teenagers lives. It is up to us as parents to teach our teenagers driving & seatbelt safety, but it's up to them to follow those teachings.

    God, please be with the families of all the victims here; those who have gone & those who remain.

  • rachelrollick1 Apr 29, 2008

    wow..when i found out about this it blew my mind. I haven't talked to ashley in a while but we hung out a bit and talked our freshman and sophmore years. It just really shows how you can never really see what's coming. I hope she is in a better place. I also hope that the few of you who have written negative comments and ask about BAC and such, think about how it would feel if it was your daughter, cousin, other family member or friend.

  • garden Apr 28, 2008

    Such a sad waste of a beautiful life. God be with her family.

  • fudder Apr 28, 2008

    JustRational..you are incorrect,you must have been referring to the other young person that died in a wreck this weekend.there was no alcohol mentioned in this wreck,however there was alcohol involved in the other wreck which involved a former representatives son from this state.

  • CA Apr 28, 2008

    It's really sad to hear something like this but we can't blame anything we dont' actually know what happen, just them and god all we need to do is pray for the families of the teens and especially for Ashleys family that God may give them peace and comfort at this very hard time

  • JustRational Apr 28, 2008

    USA you are incorrect,

    the initial story DID state that officers said alcohol was a factor. But with no other details.

  • Common Sense Man Apr 28, 2008

    ""You can't blame it on anybody," Michelle Pyrtle, Ashley Pyrtle's cousin, said."

    I bet when the details come out we'll all feel differently.

  • anneonymousone Apr 28, 2008

    I'm a teacher, and the idea of facing an empty desk in my classroom because of something like this makes me sad beyond words.

    I hope we can find ways to use stories like this to teach teens how very mortal they are---not to blame anyone, but to try to prevent more tragedies.

  • Pharmboy Apr 28, 2008

    What a terrible news clip. No real information posted on why the accident occurred, nor was there any statement that declared limited knowledge or withheld information from WRAL. The news should state whether there is more info pending or not about this death. From the info given, I feel empathy this girl died and the family's grief. With more info, it was just an accident.