Classmates mourn 13-year-old killed in crash

Classmates mourn 13-year-old killed in crash

CREATED Mar 30, 2012

Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

SAHUARITA, Ariz. (KGUN9- TV) - One car crash nearly claimed an entire family, and it leaves the tight-knit Sahuarita community in shock two days later, as they mourn the loss of a 13-year-old girl and rally for the other members' recovery.

A rollover accident Wednesday night on I-10 claimed the life of 13-year-old Tanner Karr.  According to family friends, her mother Jamie and sister 19-year-old Tessa were injured and have since been released from the hospital.  Her father John and 16-year-old brother Troy are still intensive care.

Meanwhile, fellow Sahuarita residents and classmates of Tanner do whatever they can to show support.  A large memorial display emerged at the Anza Trail School where Tanner attended 8th grade.  School administrators broke the news to her classmates in small groups with grief counselors from their district and Marana on hand.

"They're obviously having a very difficult time," said principal Brett Bonner, "When you deal with these very difficult situations a death or a tragedy that impacts a school system and a community like Sahuarita, it's amazing how we all have rallied together to come together and support one another."

Bonner says they were honest and straight-forward with the children, and are encouraging outward expression like the memorial, a memory book, and a memorial tree in the school's courtyard.  The school also waved their dress code rules to allow students to wear pink Friday in her honor.

"It's a tragedy and it does create a hole," said Bonner, "She was very kind-hearted, got along with lots of students, very involved in the community, very involved in her church."

Fellow class-mates like Destiny Valenzuela are still struggling to accept the loss, and keeping in mind Tanner's kind nature.

"I'm only thirteen and I lost my friend.  She was younger than me. I have a heartache," said Valenzuela holding back tears, "She would help me in science because I have a little trouble in science and I just can't believe she's gone."

Residents of Sahuarita say the entire Karr family had made a definite impact on the community over the years, with their closeness to one another and involvement in the Common Ground Church of Sahuarita. 

The church has set up a donation page for the family.  Friday's memorial will stay until Sunday, when it will be taken down and given to the family.