Friends remember teen killed in accident

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News 12 at 11, September 18, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ga.---A wreck in Jefferson County left one teenager dead and two more injured.

15-year-old Joyce Warnock died Monday afternoon when the SUV she was riding in flipped, killing her. She was not wearing her seat belt.

Joyce Warnock was a popular student and well liked by all who knew her at Jefferson County High School, which makes her loss all the more painful.

Her friends say she was a fifteen year old known for her beaming smile, her love for the band Fall Out Boy, often seen eating her favorite food, Oreo cookies, and never short of good friends by her side.

It's those same friends that are now lost without Joyce.

"Joyce, she was that one person, that one special person that was always there," says her best friend Tasha Walden.

"She was just always smiling. I called her giggles. She was just smiling always," adds friend and classmate Louisa Torres.

"Joyce was a student everyone knew and loved. She was a student who was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside," remembers her high school principal Dr. Molly Howard.

The beloved student and friend died Monday on her way home from school. She and two other teenage girls were less than one mile down the road when tragedy struck.

Officials say the driver of the SUV, 16-year-old Hannah Sheppard,
lost control of her explorer near this curve on Mennonite Church Road.
Sheppard ran off the right side and over corrected to the left side. Sheppard then over corrected again, this time fatally. The car flipped,and ejected Joyce from the back seat. The explorer then landed on top of her, killing her instantly.

"I now do not have my best friend. Nobody will ever take her place," vows Walden.

Dr. Howard says the school brought in 12 grief counselors to comfort more than 150 of Joyce's close friends. "This has been a tremendous loss for Jefferson county high school family. It's a loss that can never be replaced."

These friends say Joyce taught them lessons in life, and in her death.

"This is very tragic to me. It shouldn't happen to anybody. It just made me and and a lot of other people realize that we should be buckled up and driving slow and be careful," says Torres.

The other two teenagers are at home recovering. As for right now, there is no word on any charges against the driver.

But under Georgia Law 16 year olds cannot have more than one passenger-who is not a family member- in their car until they've held their driver's license for more than a year.

A memorial is planned for Warnock Saturday, September 22 at Jefferson County High School at 10:30 in the morning.

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