By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Spring Break turned tragic for a Northview High School senior when a driver headed the wrong way on U.S. Highway 29 slammed head-on into her vehicle in the wee hours of March 17.
Kara Santorelli, 18, of Molino, was reportedly killed instantly when a Chevrolet sedan that was southbound in the northbound lanes of the federal highway, near its intersection with Quintette Road, near Pace, collided with the Nissan SUV she was driving.
The sedan burst into flames. Its driver, who was also killed, has not yet been identified.
Northview officials released a statement Monday, expressing sorrow on behalf of the entire school over the loss of the teen, who was known for smile and her kindness to others.
“Today, with sad hearts, we welcome back our students after spring break,” the statement began. “We are deeply sorry for the tragic loss of our senior, Kara Santorelli. We hold tight to beautiful memories that she had left with us. Her beautiful smile and kind spirit will continue to be in the hearts of her friends and classmates.”
Santorelli worked at Jimmy’s Grill for more than a year and was very popular with its customers and its staff. Evidence of her popularity came in the response to establishment of a gofundme account to help cover her funeral expenses.
The initial goal was to raise $5,000. At last report, more than four times that amount had been pledged.
She was the daughter of Mark and Lacey McLaughlin. She is also survived by five brothers, Luke, Lance, Travis, and Hunter McLaughlin and Le’ Marion Mixon; her maternal grandmother, JaneAnn Creech, and two sets of fraternal grandparents, Cathy Redgate and Claude McLaughlin, and Deborah Strickler and Daniel Santorelli.
Her family has requested that those who want to honor Kara’s memory do so by giving to the American Chesapeake Club Rescue, instead of sending flowers. Donations can be made by sending a check to ACC Rescue at 12525 Main Street, Springfield, NE, 68059 or through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are also being collected at Jimmy’s Grill.
A Sunrise Celebration of Life will be held for the teen on Saturday, March 25th, at 6:30 a.m., at Pensacola Beach, near the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier, 41 Fort Pickens Road, in Gulf Breeze, Fla.
Kara Santorelli’s obituary is on page 3 of this edition of Atmore News.