Street was a ‘bubbly’ girl
By ANDREA FURLONG
A 14-year-old Williamsburg girl died and three others were injured in a car accident on Interstate 80 near Oxford Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Three vehicles were involved in the crash. A van, driven by Karen Dye, 52, Williamsburg with Dye’s daughter as a passenger, Melissa Street, 14, was eastbound on I-80, as was a truck driven by Dan Earhart, 59, Solon, and a truck driven by Jorge Ortiz, 43, Washington. All three vehicles passed the car of a Johnson County deputy sitting on the left shoulder with its emergency lights on to warn of an accident ahead. Earhart and Dye stopped for the accident, while Ortiz’s vehicle did not slow and struck the rear of Dye’s van, pushing it into Earhart’s truck. The vehicles came to a rest in the right lane.
Melissa was airlifted to a hospital for immediate medical attention, but died from injuries.
In her friends’ words, Melissa was a bubbly eighth grader who loved to rollerskate. She was adorably clumsy and always had a smile on her face.
“One time she had just gotten stitches out from falling and (being cut) by a stick, and she was trying to wake me up by pulling my leg. She fell backwards and fell almost all the way down the stairs. It was pretty funny. She fell off a chair the same day,” recalled eighth grader Ben Weldon.
Melissa’s clumsiness also extended to her driving, which her brother Steve started teaching her last summer at Belvadeer.
“She was getting ready to make a turn too short, so she had to back it up and Steve helped put it in reverse. But, instead of easing off the break, she pushed on the gas and the truck flew into a dirt pile. The tailgate (which had been down) folded back up into the truck. It was a learning experience that neither one ever forgot,” said Amanda Elmore, Steve’s girlfriend.
A great sense of humor is something Melissa always had, even when she was little, recalled her mom, Karen Dye.
“When she was young she loved to dress up her brother Mike and Grandpa Earl. One time she put hair barrettes in Grandpa’s hair. Grandpa went out to mow the yard forgetting that they were in and passersby were looking and pointing at him. Grandma and Melissa came home and told him he still had the barrettes in his hair and Grandpa laughed,” Karen recalled.
In the eyes of her mother, Melissa was beautiful, inside and out, with her long brown hair, big blue eyes and big heart.
“She had a bubbly personality and she really cared about people,” Karen said.
Melissa’s love for others was very evident in her friendships.
“She was really trustworthy. She kept all our secrets,” said eighth grader Crystal Northup.
She was someone who kept her friends very close to her heart, like family.
“She was pretty like our sister,” Ben said.
Last Friday, many Williamsburg junior high students honored Melissa’s memory by releasing balloons with messages for her.
Crystal, who met Melissa through a Catechism class, said she reminded Melissa that one day she will be reunited with her friends.
“I told her I loved her and missed her and to wait for me by the gates,” she said.
Melissa is survived by her parents, Karen Dye and Richard Street; brothers, Rick, Steve and Michael; stepfather, Kevin Dye; stepbrother Jacob Dye and stepsister, Tiffany Dye. Please see her obituary on page three for further information.
UPDATED February 24, 2010 10:19 AM