Local News

High school remembers Harnett teen killed in wreck

Posted April 20, 2010 4:34 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2010 6:43 p.m. EDT

— Students and faculty at Western Harnett High School on Tuesday mourned the loss of sophomore who was killed in a Monday afternoon wreck.

Elizabeth Ann Harris, 16, of Spring Lake, had just left Western Harnett Middle School, where her mother is a teacher, and was headed home when she was involved in a collision on Docs Road near Micro Tower Road, outside of Lillington.

"The main thing is just hugging folks and reassuring them that we love them and (we're) just going through this together," Western Harnett High Principal William Wright Jr. said.

According to the state Highway Patrol, Harris was speeding – going 65 mph in a 55-mph zone – when she ran off the road in a curve and over-corrected. Harris' Ford sedan then swerved sideways into the path of an oncoming passenger van, which slammed into the passenger side of her car, troopers said.

Her mother came upon the wreck as she headed home from school, authorities said.

Paramedics transported Harris to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, where she died. The driver of the van, Terry Andrew Keith, 45, of Cameron, wasn't seriously hurt but was taken to Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford as a precaution.

Flags outside Western Harnett High flew at half-staff on Tuesday, and large signs bearing Harris' initials and "rest in peace" were posted inside the school.

"She's the best of all of us, definitely," band director Bill Sutter said.

Harris played bass drum in the school band and was an honor roll student.

"(She was an) excellent student, a very talented drummer – a very talented musician, not just a drummer," Sutter said. “She had a very sweet, sweet personality that always tended to bring out the very best in those around her.”

Harris was the second Western Harnett High student to die in a wreck in a little more than a year.

Timothy Neill Cameron Jr., 17, and his girlfriend died in a single-car wreck east of Broadway in March 2009. Authorities said speed also played a role in that wreck.