Funeral services set for Prattville HS grad killed in crash - Montgomery Alabama news.

Funeral services set for Prattville HS grad killed in crash

Christy Christian (Courtesy: Charles and Danielle Marie Smith) Christy Christian (Courtesy: Charles and Danielle Marie Smith)

Funeral services have been set for a Prattville teenager killed in a car crash on Interstate 65, days after her high school graduation and weeks before she was set to start her military career.

School is out for summer but amidst the empty halls and classrooms at Prattville High School, a sense of sadness clings to the walls after classmates and teachers learned of the death of 18-year-old Christy Christian.

She graduated last Friday with Prattville's Class of 2014, proudly walking across the stage during the commencement and standing to be recognized with other students entering the Armed Forces.

Then early Sunday, on I-65 north of Clanton, her car left the roadway in the southbound lanes and overturned, killing the vibrant young woman who couldn't wait to start the next chapter of her life. 

"I personally was very close to Christy and I'm devastated. Just as she was starting to embark on her future, to have her life ended this way is just devastating to me," said Gail Yeargan, Assistant Principal at Prattville High School. "She was here every day and working hard to get to her future. Teenagers sometimes have a hard time knowing where their future is and where they are going but she knew where she was headed and just her determination to get there was inspiring to a lot of people."

Christy was headed to the United States Army to be an animal care specialist, helping veterinarians help care for Army's working dogs.

Her recruiter, Staff Sergeant Jeff Hissen, recognized some of the same traits Yeargan mentioned that made Christy stand out- traits he knew would make her a good soldier. 

"When you want to put someone in the Army, that's the kind of person you want to have, someone with a lot of heart and drive and determination," Sgt. Hissen said. "She was very excited about started her job and going to Fort Sam Houston. She was due to leave, I think, in two weeks."

Hissen originally spoke to Christy Christian during her junior year and then in the beginning of this past school year, he went to speak to her in her government class and she expressed interest in joining the Army. He met with her later that same day at the Armed Forces Recruiting Center in Prattville and he says she made the decision to pursue a career in the military. She been part of a future soldier training group, preparing for her time in the service.

Hissen says the hardest part will be not getting to see Christy don the uniform she was so eager to one day wear. 

"One of the best parts of being a recruiter is getting to see all the potential they had before your eyes. And I think that's the saddest part, is that we won't get to see that. We won't get to that part. We won't get to see her come back in uniform and show us how great she was going to be," he told WSFA. 

Alabama State Troopers have not released any other details on the fatal accident. In a press release Sunday morning, troopers indicated that Christian was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.  State troopers say nearly 70% of all fatal crashes in Alabama this year involved drivers who were not wearing their seat belts. A passenger in the car with Christy Christian, who troopers have not identified, was injured and taken to UAB.

Christy Christian's visitation will be held Friday, June 6, 2014 from 12 PM- 2 PM at Prattville Memorial Chapel on Fairview Avenue. Her funeral service will start at 2 PM at the chapel. 

An online fund has been set up to help with funeral expenses. Donations can also be made at Prattville Memorial Chapel.

Condolences continue to pour in on the teen's Facebook page from friends, family, classmates and coworkers, showing the impact Christy Christian had on those around her. 

In a statement to WSFA, Christian's brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Danielle Marie Smith, said: "Christy will be loved and missed by many. She was an excellent person that truly changed her life around and was ready to take on her future. She tackled many obstacles and we will always love her and will never forget her."

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.
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