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Troopers: Texting teen dies in first drive by herself

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HARRISONVILLE, MO (KCTV) -

She had just turned 16 years old last week, and her family had allowed her for the first time to drive alone.

Savannah Nash was en route Thursday afternoon to the grocery store to pick up items for the family dinner when her vehicle slammed into a semi. She died at the scene.

She was texting when the crash happened, the Missouri Highway Patrol says. An unsent lengthy text was found on her phone.

About 300 family, friends and classmates gathered Friday morning at Harrisonville High School to honor Savannah's memory. Many wore bright hues of greens, blues, oranges and yellows, which were her favorite colors.

"We will miss your beautiful smile, your laugh and your amazing attitude. You were always nice to me and brightened my day," a classmate posted on a Facebook page created in Savannah's honor. "All my love toward you and your family. See you someday."

Savannah was just wrapping up her freshman year.

The crash happened at 4:19 p.m. at Highway 7 and Walker Road. It was so close to her house that a neighbor heard the horrifying collision.

"When you looked, you could see the tail end of the car," Linda Murphy said. "You just knew that someone had been devastated. It just T-boned that little car. There was no way they could survive."

Murphy said Savannah and her family are caring who readily helped others.

"The girls are good little people," Murphy said. "To lose your life the first time you drive (alone), that's really hard ... I don't know as a parent how you survive some of these things. It's got to be really hard for them."

The Missouri Highway Patrol's crash log says Savannah failed to yield at the intersection and pulled into the path of a semi. Gary W. Moberly, 60, of Clinton was driving the 2003 Freightliner. He was not injured.

Savannah was driving a 2003 Chrysler, which was totaled in the crash. Savannah was driving on Walker and went to turn left to go north on Highway 7 when she drove into the path of the oncoming semi, which Moberly was driving south on the highway, the Highway Patrol said.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts.

Savannah was born May 8, 1997. She received a learner's permit on May 23, 2012, according to Missouri records. She received a full driver's license with certain restrictions on Wednesday.

One devastated mother told KCTV5's Erika Tallan that she is unsure how to explain to her son, who has a driver's permit, that this is why parents emphasize the dangers of texting and driving. Her son was close friends with Savannah and he and other friends have been rocked by the tragedy.

Classmates were distraught Friday, and the message about the dangers of texting and driving were sent home.

"I think it's kind of a rude awakening for everybody," said Harrisonville HIgh student Matthew Stanwix.

The district offered counselors for students and a therapy dog. Counselors from neighboring school districts assisted.

Click here to leave your condolences on the Facebook page created in Savannah's memory.

A page administrator wrote Friday morning, "Today, it's truly starting to sink in, that Savannah will no longer be at her locker when we all walk by, she won't be in any of her classes to talk and laugh with us. But God called her back for a reason. Sometimes the best one's leave early so they don't have to deal with the hardships of life. Savannah's Watching over all of us. R.I.P."

For more information on the type of license issued to teens like Savannah, click here.

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