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Rolesville community gathers to support family of student killed in crash

Posted January 7, 2015

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— The Rolesville community came together Wednesday to support a family mourning the loss of a 19-year-old student who died in a crash on Christmas Eve.

On Wednesday, McDonald’s in Rolesville donated 50 percent of every order to the family of Ashanie Russell, a Wake Forest High School graduate and East Carolina University student who died in a two-vehicle crash near Simms Creek Road in Raleigh.

Raleigh police said Ashanie's sister, Aaleyah Samantha Russell, 18, struck a puddle and hydroplaned, losing control of her 2002 GMC SUV as she headed south on Capital Boulevard. She veered across the median and into the northbound lanes, where she struck a 2008 Ford pickup driven by Gregory Madison Adams, 43.

Ashanie, who was a passenger in Aaleyah’s car, died. Four others were injured: Aaleyah, another passenger in her car, Michael Kevon Gregory, 14, Adams and the 8-year-old passenger in his car, Colton Foster.

Aaleyah was working at the McDonald’s in Rolesville at the time. After hearing about the crash, her employer decided to help.

“It’s just so heartbreaking, and the family is undergoing so much stress right now,” said Rolesville McDonald’s owner Carol Martin. “You strive to find something you can do to help.”

Martin said she didn’t have a goal for much she wanted to raise. She just wanted to do as much as she could to help the family.

Some who contributed had never met the Russell family. Others knew Ashanie as a polite young man who was a standout student and athlete.

“He was very much a gentleman, even in middle school,” said Ashanie’s former teacher, Debbie Glaberman. “It was interesting to read about him after middle school, and I just felt like it was the right thing to do. I would like to honor his memory.”

A group of chaplains, many of whom attend church with the Russell family, stopped by to have lunch as well. Chaplin Mike Anthony said it was the least they could do. He remembered Ashanie as a good friend and teammate to his son.

“(He was) a very good-spirited person, and the Russell family is also very deeply rooted and very active in the community,” said family friend Mike Anthony.

Ashanie's mother and sister came to the McDonald’s on Wednesday but were too overcome by emotion to talk. However, a spokesperson for McDonald's said Ashanie’s mother was extremely grateful for the support from her community.

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