Relatives and friends surround Ella Lukse, a 10th grade student at Providence High School, after she suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash in south Charlotte.
Ella’s father told Channel 9 via text that his daughter was such a wonderful person and they spend the remaining days with her in Levine.
Speeding is believed to have led to the wreck, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.
Investigators said two cars were involved in the accident, which occurred just before 9 p.m. Sunday on Raintree Lane on Rounding Run Road. Officers found a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee that had overturned and a 2019 Volkswagen Jetta with severe damage.
MEDIC took two passengers from the Jeep and both people in the Jetta to the hospital. The 17-year-old driver of the Jeep was not injured and remained at the scene. A 15-year-old passenger in the Jetta was seriously injured, police said.
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Detectives said they believe the Jeep was traveling south on Raintree Lane when it hit the right side of the Jetta. Police said the impact of the crash caused the Jeep to flip over and the Jetta to veer off the road and crash into a tree.
CMPD believes speeding led to the crash. Although the driver of the jeep was not found to be intoxicated, he had consumed alcohol prior to the accident, police said.
Officers arrested him and charged him with driving under the age of 21 and reckless driving.
Police said more charges are likely to follow as the investigation continues.
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There was a steady stream of emotional classmates and their parents visiting a memorial set up at the crash site.
They shared a video with Channel 9’s Dan Matics of a fun moment with her that they said sums up her personality.
Her friends say Lukse worked as a lifeguard at a country club not far from where the accident happened. She loved the job because she was an athlete and loved to help others.
“She really loved her boyfriend, she loved the idea of being a mom,” Katrina said. “She was athletic, she was smart, she was bubbly — she lit up the room wherever she entered.”
Reporter Jonathan Lowe talked to another friend Lukse grew up with, Emily Walker.
“I remember her always smiling and laughing,” said Walker. “I grew up with her because I’ve known her since kindergarten.”
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The area where the accident happened is a residential area next to a golf course. Matica can even be a blind spot.
Witnesses or anyone else who has information about the accident is asked to call the detectives. Pressley at 704-432-2169, extension 2. Information can also be left anonymously at Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or by clicking here.
Police said charges against the 17-year-old could be upgraded.
Editor’s Note: After previous versions of this story were published, Ella Lukse’s family and friends shared that her injuries are serious. However, they stay by her side in the hospital and say they share her “last days” together.
This is a development story. Check back for updates.
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