Verdigris Rallies To Help Teen Survivor, Friend Killed In Hit And Run
VERDIGRIS, Oklahoma - The community of Verdigris remains strong months after a teenage girl was killed and her friend badly injured in a hit and run.
A benefit to raise money for Noelle New and Maranda Talley took place on Saturday.
And the benefit was about more than the two families affected by the tragedy -- Noelle's mom is hoping to help another.
Before the accident, Maranda and Noelle planned on going to college.
Maranda is healing and will eventually be able to go, but Noelle's family is left with their child's dream of going to college. So they plan to take that dream and help make someone else's dream of college come true.
All the games, cars, food and auctions items at the benefit are for Noelle and Maranda. One of the girls is here to see it -- one isn't.
"Noelle's life is not going to be lived in vain and her memory,” mom Brandy Whitmiere said. “She's no longer here to have her life, so my role is to carry on her legacy and to do what I hoped she would have achieved."
On June 5, Noelle was killed and Maranda injured after police say they were victims of a hit and run. Brothers Gage and Dakota Shriver eventually were arrested and charged with the crime.
In the month following the accident, Maranda has racked up a lot of medical bills.
To help Maranda's family foot that bill, community members came together to host the Verdigris Strong benefit.
"She has extensive medical bills,” benefit coordinator Jennifer Ayers said. “Everything from her helicopter ride to the hospital to the 10 days in the hospital and surgeries and medicine, and she has a lot of bills more bills than a kid that age should have."
In addition to helping Maranda, the benefit also will help keep Noelle's college dream alive.
“Even though she didn't get to do her dream of OU so... I didn't want that part of Noelle to die with her,” Whitmiere said.
Whitmiere says she's raised enough money so far to give two $1,000 scholarships to Verdigris High school seniors through the Noelle Nichole New Scholarship Fund.
“I tried to think of what I could do to give back to people,” she said. “And that's the best think I could come up with as far as something that would mean something to her."