Manchester high student killed in car accident

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -- A 17-year old Chesterfield girl is dead  after a car wreck in Nottoway County Sunday morning, around 11:30 A.M. Virginia State Police said it happened on Route 360 eastbound near Route 723.

A 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer was traveling eastbound on Route 360 when the driver, a teen that attends Cosby High School in Chesterfield, ran off the left side of the roadway and overcorrected.  The vehicle crossed back onto the roadway and ran off the right side striking an embankment and overturning several times before coming to rest on the driver's side.

According to Virginia State Police, the driver, Joseph B. Dorazio III, 18, was not wearing his safety belt and suffered serious non-life threatening injuries.  Dorazio was transported by ambulance to Bon Secours Saint Francis Medical Center and charged with reckless driving.

Passenger Avery H. Spence, 17, of Midlothian, was ejected from the vehicle and transported by ambulance to Southside Community Hospital in Farmville where she later died.

Spence was a student at Manchester, the school has confirmed.  The school administrators knew about the crash and brought in extra counselors at Manchester today. Spence was well-known through the county, so several other schools brought in counselors.

Three passengers, Adam M. Sowder, 18, and two female passengers, 16 and 17 years of age; were also transported by ambulance to Saint Francis Medical Center with serious non-life threatening injuries.  A fourth passenger, Alex Pecoraro, 18, suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was flown by med-flight to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.

It remains under investigation whether any of the passengers in the vehicle were wearing their safety belts. Speed and alcohol are not considered factors in the crash.

By Monday morning, news of the deadly crash spread to Manchester High School students.  Classmates of Avery Spence created a memorial in her campus parking space. Students wrote messages in sidewalk chalk and left flowers, crosses and cards in parking spot 22. Avery's principal said she earned this spot because she was ranked in the top 15 of her class.

Monday morning, before school, students released balloons in a tribute to Avery Spence. She had the smarts, the looks and was well-liked.

"She was a really cool person," Adam Shropshire, a junior, said. "She was always nice to everybody."

"She was a good person," said sophomore Ana Gomez. "Why would this happen to someone that didn't deserve it."

Classmates said Avery, who wore jersey #12, was a soccer star.

"She was," said Gomez. "She was a captain of the girls varsity."

Jodie Pullano, neighbor to the Spence family, is broken inside.

"It's devastating," said Pullano as she held back tears. "It's unreal, unbelievable."

She said Avery's prom dress hangs inside the Spences Bayhill Pointe home. The senior was excited about this weekend's milestone.

"She was gonna go to Tech to the dental school," said Pullano.

Now parked in spot 22 in the Manchester High School parking lot, symbols of love for the girl who leaves behind her parents and two younger sisters.

"It was a dark day," said Shropshire. "It wasn't good. Everybody was down. So many people were crying. It just wasn't a good day at Manchester."

Yet bold colors, tye-dye and teal-Avery's favorites, consume the campus and although candles left in the parking lot are out, at Manchester high, Avery's memory is eternal.

In addition to wearing Avery's favorite colors, Monday students created a mural where more than 200 students wrote condolences to the Spence Family.

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