A community mourned Thursday after a 13-year-old was killed by a driver who authorities believe was impaired Wednesday night near the Madison and Buncombe county lines.
Sarah Shelton, 32, of Alexander, was charged with felony death by vehicle, reckless driving to endanger and driving while impaired in connection to the collision, said Trooper Kelly Rhodes, a North Carolina State Highway Patrol spokesman.
Lillith DeCarlo, an eighth grader at Madison Middle School was the teen who was killed in the accident, according to Madison County School officials.
She had attended a church service at Forks of Ivy Baptist Church with a relative before the accident, according to Nicholas Honeycutt, Madison Middle School principal. A deacon at the church was driving DeCarlo and her relative home when the collision occurred.
Shelton was driving south in the northbound lane of U.S. 25-70 heading in the direction of Weaverville when a second vehicle was traveling north toward Marshall around 9:42 p.m. Wednesday, he said.
“In an attempt to avoid collision (the driver of the second vehicle) pulled to the left,” he said. “She struck their vehicle on the passenger side, which resulted in the death of a minor who was in the backseat.”
The driver of the second vehicle suffered minor injuries and was released from the scene of the accident Wednesday night, according to Rhodes.
The second juvenile passenger, a seventh grader at Madison Middle School, was recovering at Mission Hospital in the ICU Thursday, Honeycutt said. She had been sitting in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision, according to Rhodes.
DeCarlo was a quirky, well-liked student who played in the school band, according to Honeycutt.
“She had strong self-esteem and real self-confidence,” he said Thursday after he met with the eighth grade class and band students to tell them the news.
“Most of the students already knew,” he said. “We told them that one of our family members is now gone. We celebrate together and we grieve together. There were a lot of tears. Today is a day that instruction takes a back seat.”
Drew Brooks, band director at Madison Middle School, agreed.
“We are all devastated,” he said. “We lost somebody who truly is an inspirational person and is a light in all our lives.”
Brooks said DeCarlo played the trombone and loved band.
“When she entered a room, she brought the mood up for everyone. She cared about everybody before herself,” he said.
To remember DeCarlo the band has decided to dedicate its final concert to her as a memorial concert, he said. DeCarlo loved “Welcome to the Black Parade” and Brooks said he had already ordered the piece for the concert.
“I know that the students will put their passion behind it and it will really be remembered as something special,” Brooks said.
The final band concert will be at…