McDONOUGH — Funeral services have been set for a high school student who died in a fiery multi-vehicle crash Aug. 20 on Interstate 75 in Henry County.
Summer Ann Lee, 18, was killed when her SUV was struck from behind sometime between 10:30 and 11 a.m. on I-75 by a tractor trailer traveling northbound near Exit 218. According to the Henry County Police Department, the truck was driven by 49-year-old Daniel Crane of Jemez Springs, N.M.
The collision set off a chain-reaction, pushing Lee’s vehicle into five other vehicles.
Lee, a senior at Locust Grove High School, was killed as a result of the crash and seven others were transported to Atlanta Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, the police department reported.
Henry County Fire Department arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire, and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division and the Georgia Department of Transportation assisted Henry County police who responded to the scene.
The interstate was shut down for nearly four hours, and Crane has been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide in the second degree, following too closely and commercial vehicle hours of service violation. Neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be a factor in the crash, the HCPD stated.
Lee was a well-known student who was active in her high school.
School spokesman J.D. Hardin spent some time on campus Monday morning.
“It was quite a somber atmosphere,” said Hardin. “A lot of people knew her.”
Hardin said there was a crisis response team of counselors and representatives from faith-based organizations at the school to help support students and faculty.
Lee was a member of Locust Grove High’s softball and tennis teams.
Her former principal, Anne Wilson of Unity Grove Elementary, remembers her as a ball of positivity.
“She had diabetes, so she’d come and get her checks through the office,” said Wilson. “She was bubbly and kind-hearted, such a gentle soul. Everywhere that she went she exuded positivity and happiness. Just a ray of sunshine.”
Lee was awarded the Defensive Player of 2013 and Defensive Player of 2014 for her play on Locust Grove High’s junior varsity softball team, according to the school website. And in 2015, she earned the team’s Best Teammate Award.
Shannon Mitchell taught the teen in elementary school and has seen her grow into a young woman, taking her 15-year-old daughter, Chandler Mitchell, under her wing at the high school. The pair played softball together at Locust Grove High.
“What you got is what you saw,” said Mitchell. “That’s why people loved her so much.
“She’s a beautiful soul,” she continued. “She definitely made her mark here on my soul as she did with everybody else she came in contact with.”
Family friend Nikki Rogers pointed out that Lee’s interests were wide-ranging from photography to philanthropy.
“She wasn’t just an awesome athlete,” said Rogers. “That child lit up every room that she went into.”
Rogers created a GoFundMe page, titled “Remembering Summer Lee,” to assist the family with funeral arrangements. The account raised more than $28,000 in the matter of days.
Rogers is also founder of the nonprofit Caring for a Cause, which supports local families in crisis. She spoke to the Henry Herald about the teen’s generosity.
Lee regularly volunteered for Caring for a Cause charity events with her family and even nominated a couple of the charity’s benefactors, she said.
A vigil was held the evening of death Aug. 20 at the high school and her funeral is set for Friday.
Visitation is set for Thursday, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Relevant Church, 4770 Ga. Highway 42 in Locust Grove.
Services will be held at the church Friday, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Lee will be laid to rest at Eastlawn Memorial Park, 640 McGarity Road in McDonough, immediately following the “Celebration of Life” services.
The family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, sympathies be given in the form of donations sent to Caring for a Cause, 137 Meadowview Drive, Jackson, GA 30233.
Those funds and what is left over from the GoFundMe account will go to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Caring for a Cause also plans to co-sponsor its Biannual Home Run Derby on Sept. 9, with the Ola Parks and Recreation Division of Henry County Parks and Recreation. The event — at North Ola Park, 365 North Ola Road in McDonough — will honor Lee and her family.
Editor Aimee Jones contributed to this article.