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Concerns mount over fatal Cary intersection

After the death of a 15-year-old Panther Creek High School student who died from injuries sustained in a wreck last week, concerns mount over the intersection that claimed the teenager's life.

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CARY, N.C. — After the death of a 15-year-old Panther Creek High School student who died from injuries sustained in a wreck last week, concerns mount over the intersection that claimed the teenager's life.

Laura Yost was in the passenger-side backseat of a Chevrolet Blazer when its driver turned left into the path of a dump truck at the intersection of N.C. Highway 55 and McCrimmon Parkway, where fellow students Tuesday left a memorial of balloons, flowers and notes. Yost was on her way to school when the wreck happened.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Yost family this morning," the Wake County Public School System said in a statement Tuesday morning. "School support teams and counselors at Panther Creek High School are working with students and staff today. The family asks that the public please respect their privacy and that of friends during this difficult time."

Yost was taken to Duke University Hospital, where she reportedly underwent surgery for her injuries.

"She was tough before the accident, and she was even tougher last week fighting for her life," said Emily Turgeon, who coached Yost who played for the Capital Area Soccer League.

Yost's teammates held a prayer vigil at the WRAL Soccer Field Tuesday evening. They also wore blue, Yost's favorite color, and released balloons in her honor.

Yost's 16-year-old brother, Ryan Yost, was also injured in the wreck but not seriously.

A wreck report showed that the driver, Spencer Saunders, rushed through a safety light and failed to yield the right of way. A spokesman for the Cary Police Department said investigators are consulting with the Wake County District Attorney's Office to determine whether to file charges.

Saunders, meanwhile, posted a note to Yost on his Twitter account Tuesday morning, reading, in part:

"This truly breaks my heart. I'm so sorry this happened, please forgive me. It should be me up there..not you. I am extremely lucky to have known such an amazing girl that never failed to make me smile."

Cary police have said the site of the collision is a very busy intersection, and according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there have been 29 wrecks there – including seven others involving left-hand turns, but none of those have been fatal.

In 2009, a channelized right turn and u-turn lanes were created on McCrimmon Parkway to address traffic issues.

Laura Cove, Cary's director of transportation and facilities, said she has received calls from parents recently about the intersection. Most parents have suggested a protected left turn from N.C. Highway 55 onto McCrimmon Parkway, an option Cove said her department and the DOT are seriously considering.

Others, like Dave Honaker, are especially worried due to the intersection being near Panther Creek High School.

"Sometimes I drive through there when they're coming out of school and there is more traffic but I haven't noticed any increased erratic driving or anything of that nature," he said.

Visitation for Yost will be held on Friday at Apex Funeral Home from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A funeral mass is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Cary.


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