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Crash claims county teen

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By John Barnhart

A county teen was killed in a head-on crash, Monday morning, while driving to school.

According state police, Tiffany Skylar LaPrade, 16, was driving east on Va. 24 when her 2001 Toyota Camry crossed the center line and hit a 2003 Dodge Ram pick-up driven by Rodney Whorley, of Huddleston. Whorley's truck then ran off the right shoulder of the road and overturned.

The force of the impact threw LaPrades' car back into her original lane of travel, hiting a Honda Accord driven by Crystal Mayhew, of Vinton. Mayhew was eastbound at the time.

LaPrade's Camry continued across the road, went over an embankment and overturned.

LaPrade, who died at the scene, was wearing her seat belt and was alone in the car. All vehicles were heavily damaged and Mayhew was injured.

According to state police, speed does not appear to be a factor in the crash. They have been unable to determine why LaPrade came left of center. The crash occurred in a dip in Va. 24 just east of the Chamblissburg Rescue squad building.

LaPrade was a junior at Staunton River High School (SRHS) and enrolled in a course of study for an advanced studies diploma. Robert Stump, the school's principal said that she was taking challenging courses and doing well.

Stump said that the school had extra guidance counselors come in and that students were taking it about as well as can be expected.

According to Stump, LaPrade was well liked and considered to be somebody with a lot of potential. She was also known for her love of animals and was active in the Roanoke Valley SPCA. He said her family has requested donations be made to that organization in her memory.

The death of a student in a crash has become all too familiar to the SRHS community. Monday's crash was the third in four years to claim a student's life.