APRIL 5, 2012 Ruskin High School junior Alycia Cornelius died in a street racing accident Wednesday, when the car she was riding in lost control and slid into a tree. She was 17. Image courtesy of the Hickman Mills School District.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Alycia Cornelius was just a few weeks away from turning 18 years old. She'll never reach that birthday, and her grandmother says it's because of a senseless decision.
The young man behind the wheel has been identified as 19-year-old Dwayne Frazier. His sister, Ciara Debarge, told 41 Action News that he is recovering at Research Medical Center .
She said he was on life support for a while, and the family didn’t think he was going to make it.
As it is, he has 14 staples in his side and an injury to his hand – but she’s amazed his injuries aren’t worse.
Debarge said Dwayne was horrified when he found out Alycia had died.
“He started crying, and he’s like…she didn’t even graduate. She didn’t get the chance to graduate,” she said. “He said he wishes it was him instead of her.”
"She was a bubbly, sweet person. She was an angel," said Alycia's grandmother, who declined to share her name publicly.
Now, Alycia's grandmother is left with just home movies and memories.
"I don't have my granddaughter. My granddaughter would have been 18 on the 25th. I don't have that, I was robbed from seeing having a great grandchild. I was robbed of seeing her go to prom. I was robbed to see her get married," said her grandmother.
Flowers and a teddy bear now mark the spot where Alycia took her last breath. Her grandmother said there will be a vigil for Alycia this Saturday at 5 p.m. at the crash site.
Kansas City police say she was riding inside a car that was street racing on Hillcrest Road near the old Bannister Mall on Wednesday afternoon.
The car left the road and hit a tree so fast that the vehicle split in half, throwing Alicia out.
Family members say a new boyfriend was behind the wheel. Alycia's grandmother says she feels sorry for the young man and his family, but believes he needs to be held accountable.
"It is what it is because, you stand behind the wheel, you take a risk," she said.
Cornelius was a junior at Ruskin High School. Principal Chad Ryerson says she was shy, but that was changing.
"She really came out of her shell as a student. Junior year is always kind of a growth year and she was one of those kids that really started to blossom and find her voice," said Ryerson.
He says Cornelius was a good student who made a bad decision to skip school Wednesday.
"It's senseless. They should not be drag racing, speeding, none of this," said Alycia's grandmother.
She hopes her granddaughter's death can serve as a lesson that life is fragile, even if you're young.
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