Laura Yost, the teen hurt in crash near Cary's Panther Creek High School, has died

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Officials say Laura Yost, the 15-year-old critically injured in a crash near Panther Creek High School in Cary last week, has passed away.

The crash happened last Tuesday morning at the intersection of N.C. Highway 55 and McCrimmon Parkway. Yost was a passenger in a SUV that was hit by a dump truck.

Investigators said 16-year-old Spencer Saunders was driving the SUV and turned in front of the truck. Yost's brother Ryan, 16, was also a passenger.

Saunders posted a tweet to Laura after her death:

"Not one minute has passed where I haven't thought about you. Never could I ever imagine this happening. It was incredible watching you grow up since you were 8. We've grown so close to each other, we were family. I'm going to miss staying up late and watching Netflix with you, Pinehurst, practicing soccer with you, and just having you as my little sister. This truly breaks my heart. I'm so sorry this happened, please forgive me. It should be me up there.. not you. I am extremely lucky to have known such an amazing girl that never failed to make me smile. I love you so much, I hope there's plenty of puppies in heaven to accompany you. Rest easy, Laura."

Panther Creek High administrators say a crisis team is at the school for students seeking counseling after the accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Yost family this morning," said Wake County Public Schools in a statement.

Yost's teammates with the Capital Area Soccer League learned early Tuesday of her passing. They wore blue shirts to practice Tuesday night, just like they had all week while Yost was in critical condition at Duke Hospital.

Through her grief, Laura's CASL coach, Emily Turgeon, tried staying strong for her team. While standing on the turf where she would have coached Laura through practice, Turgeon described the vibrant, fearless, and dedicated teammate Laura was.

"She was tough before the accident and she was even tougher last week, fighting for her life," said Turgeon. "The best way that we can honor her is putting on our shin guards, putting on our cleats and getting out on the field and playing for her."

Blown away by the outpouring of love and support from Panther Creek High School students and the CASL community, Turgeon said she and her team will remain supportive of the Yost family, including Laura's brother Ryan and Spencer Saunders who are also CASL players.

"This club, what they have done, not just for Laura but for Spencer and for Ryan, is just wrap their loving arms around all of them," she said. "Lifting her family up and being present for her family is going to be something that my team needs to do, and it's going to be a life-long relationship that needs to be nurtured."

Yost's teammates released blue and purple balloons Tuesday night on the practice field.

Somewhere between 16 and 18 girls on Yost's team wrote messages on the balloons.

Before practice started, the team prayed together.

This soccer community will be supporting the Yost family from this point moving forward.

"A big part of her life was soccer," said CASL Business Development Director Katharine Kelley, "and I think that's one area where we can really have an impact and help remember her."

Meanwhile, charges are pending against Saunders.



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