Verdigris Remembers Hit-And-Run Victim As Friend Struggles To Recover

Sunday, June 7th 2015, 12:38 pm
By: Dee Duren

Friends gathered at the Vintage Pond in Verdigris Sunday evening to remember a girl who was killed in a hit-and-run wreck early Friday.

People shared their memories of Noelle New on notes to be given to her parents in memory jars. There also was pastoral staff for anyone who needs encouragement, organizers say.

Noelle and her longtime friend Maranda Talley were walking along a Rogers County road when a pickup driver hit them then drove away. Two brothers, Gage and Dakota Shriver, were arrested later that day in connection to the fatal wreck.

A picture shows two friends, Noelle and Maranda, at a happier time. Friends since sixth grade, the two recently graduated from high school.

But that friendship was cut short when a hit-and-run crash knocked the pair off the road.

"My daughter is in a hospital," Ann Rutherford said. "Her friend is dead. I'm feeling guilty because my baby made it and hers didn't just all kinds of things my mind won't stop spinning."

Noelle didn't make it, but Ann's daughter Maranda was badly injured and is recovering at St. John Medical Center but alive.

“It breaks my heart because I want to do nothing more than to see whatever it is that hurts and heal that,” Ann said.

As Maranda recovers, all the family can do is pray.

"God has been on us the whole time we totally feel God's presence," Ann said.

When Ann first got the news of the accident, she tried to be open minded, thinking kids were responsible and sometimes they make bad decisions.

With the arrest of the Shrivers, those feelings have changed.

“I tried to put myself in that spot and I thought, ‘OK, they panicked. But now I'm angry."

She says, despite being upset about what happened to the girls, she's happy someone is being held responsible.

And although Maranda's mobility and speech aren't what they used to be, a simple hand signal to say I love you brings even more joy.

As for Noelle's family, she'll continue to support and pray for them.

A vigil to remember Noelle and pray for Maranda was held in Verdigris on Sunday. Visitation for Noelle will be on Monday. Her funeral is scheduled for Tuesday.

Gage Shriver, 19, has been booked on numerous complaints including first-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, personal injury accident while driving under the influence and obstructing an officer in the performance of his duty. Investigators say he was driving.

Twenty-one-year-old Dakota Shriver was booked on complaints of first-degree manslaughter, obstructing driver's view or control, obstructing an officer and accessory to a felony.

6/6/2015 Related Story: OHP: Investigation Continues Into Fatal Verdigris Hit And Run

Both girls had just graduated from high school, and Maranda was planning to be a cheerleader for Oral Roberts University in the fall. Mother Ann Rutherford said her daughter had aged out of the Sooner Care insurance program and was not yet covered under ORU's plan for students.

Link To GoFundMe Account approved by Ann Rutherford For Maranda Talley