Local News

Mother of teen calls fatal wreck 'senseless'

Posted July 13, 2008 6:40 p.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2008 8:50 p.m. EDT

— The mother of a Chapel Hill teenager who died in a car crash Saturday morning says the crash was "senseless."

Lillian “Lilli” Manis, 17, was killed just before 5 a.m. at Glenwood Avenue and Lynn Road as she rode in a car with her boyfriend, Philip Iavorov Jurov, 17, of Durham.

The 1991 Honda car Mani was riding in was going north on Glenwood Avenue toward Pinecrest Drive.

Justin Caleb Crouse, 19, of 4612 Limerick Drive in Raleigh, was driving a 2008 Ford passenger car south on Lynn Road and preparing to make a left turn onto Glenwood Avenue. He lost control and the Ford slammed into the passenger side of the Honda head-on, according to the wreck report.

Jurov and Manis were transported to WakeMed. She was pronounced dead at the hospital, and Jurov sustained serious injuries. He was listed in fair condition Sunday evening.

"It was senseless. It was totally senseless and random,” Elizabeth Manis said of her daughter's death. "When you get the police knock on your door and it's your worst fear come true, you feel like someone has just ripped you apart."

Crouse, who authorities say had been drinking alcohol prior to the crash, was also taken to WakeMed. He was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

“She had the insight and the ability to change the world, and if not change the world, just make it more beautiful because of her artwork," Elizabeth Manis said.

Lilli Manis had recently graduated from Chapel Hill High School and planned to attend Earlham College in Indiana this fall to study Asian Studies and art.

Police charged Crouse with driving while impaired, felony death by vehicle, provisional driving while impaired and a red-light violation, according to the wreck report.

Crouse was released from jail Saturday evening on a $50,000 bond.

A woman told WRAL News Sunday afternoon that she saw Crouse about two hours before the wreck. She said she was concerned about his drinking and driving to the extent that she called 911 around 3:30 a.m. to warn authorities he was on the road.

She said she gave dispatchers information about Crouse's car and the location he was driving.

Authorities had not commented on the woman's statement as of Sunday evening.