Cheerleader Killed When Car Hit Tree, Body Thrown From Wrecked Car: Officials
An Alabama college student was killed after she lost control of her car and crashed into a tree, officials said.
Authorities initially believed that the driver of the Scion TC fled the scene after the crash since no one was inside the vehicle, but later found the University of West Alabama cheerleader's body in a wooded area.
Harris, who was reportedly not wearing her seat belt, was thrown from her car after the 7:45 a.m. crash, Alabama State Troopers said. Her body was found about 2:30 p.m.
"She has many friends at UWA and will be greatly missed by the campus community, throughout which she was known and will be remembered for her dedication in the classroom and on the sidelines of Tiger athletics as a cheerleader,” the University of West Alabama said in a statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bethany's family and close friends during this devastating time.”
The teen was reportedly studying biology and hoped to become a pediatrician to help children with cancer.
She reportedly was last heard from Monday night, and was on her way home to Empire, Alabama from Mississippi.
Loved ones began searching for Harris earlier that day when they were unable to get ahold of her, according to AL.com.
Family and friends were devastated by the loss, taking to social media to express their grief over the tragedy.
"As I lay here in my bed, I wake up and wish it was all just a horrible nightmare," one friend wrote on Facebook. "...[N]o one could ever make someone smile the way you did. It was just amazing. It's not fair for such a wonderful person to be takin from us. But God knew your work on this earth was done and it was time for you to come home..."
Another mourner wrote on a GoFundMe page dedicated to Harris: "My heart is broken as well as many others, but Beth lives on through the hearts of everyone that knew her."
Harris's classmates at the university have been offered counseling in the days since her death.