The state Highway Patrol says the wreck happened around 11 a.m. along Highway 301, about a mile from the school. Troopers say 18-year-old Kristina Rhodes, who was on her way home, crossed the center line and hit an oncoming vehicle head-on.
Despite the tragedy, Rhodes' friends and family said they have pleasant memories of her.
"I always saw her smiling. I was thinking about that in fourth period. It's going to be different," student Crystal McLamb said.
It is not the first time the Rhodes family has lost a child. Twenty-one years ago, the Rhodeses' 14-year-old son died in a plane crash.
"The only thing you can do is let them know you love them and she's in God's hands," said Dale Langston, a friend of the family.
Teachers said Kristina was always full of energy and always wanted to help.
"You had to take time to get to know her, and once you did, you really loved her," teacher Rhonda Langston said.
The woman in the other car involved in the accident was flown to University of North Carolina Hospitals. Jacqueline Williams-Lee, 63, is listed in critical condition.
Rhodes was the second South Johnston High School student killed in just six months. In December, 16-year-old Kelly Gazlay lost control of her pickup and crashed on Juniper Church Road near Four Oaks.
Gazlay survived, but her passenger, 15-year-old Susan Gilreath, was killed. Both girls were sophomores at South Johnston. Gazlay was charged with death by motor vehicle and exceeding a safe speed.
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