HARRISONVILLE, Mo. -- Students at the high school here are mourning the death of a 16-year-old classmate, killed in a texting-while-driving traffic accident on Thursday.
Counselors and youth ministers were at Harrisonville High School Friday morning to console teenagers who lost a friend. State troopers say Savannah Nash, 16, died after she pulled out in front of a tractor-trailer on Missouri Highway 7, south of Harrisonville.
Investigators say texting while driving was a contributing factor in the crash.
Troopers tell FOX 4 News that Nash had received her driver's license less than a week ago on May 9th. The car she was in, she'd only been driving for four days. Troopers say her death is tragic, one that reinforces their campaign for drivers to turn electronic devices off when they get behind the wheel.
Many of the 900 students at Harrisonville High School gathered around the school's flagpole Friday morning to remember Savannah. It was a social media initiated event before classes began.
During the school day kids will meet with counselors to cope with the loss.
Troopers tell FOX 4 News that the 16-year-old was at a stop sign at Walker Road and Missouri Highway 7. She pulled out into the southbound lanes of the highway without yielding for a tractor-trailer that was traveling at highway speeds. Even though Savannah was wearing her seat belt, troopers say it didn't make a difference in this case.
"There was a text message that was on her phone, however it was not sent yet," said Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "That is a probable contributing circumstance to the crash. That's all part of the investigation."
Cell phone carriers and law enforcement have been trying get the message out that whether it's reading a text or looking at email, it's all the same. It means taking your eyes off the road. And troopers say that will get you killed. Lowe says it's not a matter of if, but when.
Troopers are recommending drivers have free applications for smartphones that prevent you from receiving text messages while you're moving in a vehicle. School administrators declined our request to comment about Nash on Friday.