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Former Smithsburg student killed in Mississippi crash

July 20, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Rebecca Speck
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PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. -- A former Smithsburg High School student who was remembered for her ability to "light up a room" was killed Monday in a single-car accident in Mississippi, where her family had moved in 2009.

Rebecca Speck, 18, was killed in Pass Christian, Miss., while she was riding in the back seat of a car that ran off a road and struck a tree, police said.

Rebecca's mother, Lisa Speck, said her daughter and three other friends were in the car and she believes they were taking a friend to cheerleading practice.

Lisa Speck said her daughter was born in Texas and the family came to Washington County in 2005.

Rebecca attended eighth grade at Smithsburg Middle School and was in ninth, 10th and 11th grade at Smithsburg High School, according to her mother, who was a teacher at Pangborn Elementary School.

Rebecca was on the cheerleading team at Smithsburg High School and also was in the school's drama club, her mother said.

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Lisa Speck said her family moved from Washington County in 2009, when her husband got a new job assignment in Mississippi.

Rebecca graduated from West Harrison High School in Gulfport, Miss., in May and was planning to attend a junior college for two years, then head to Mississippi State University to study zoology, her mother said.

Lisa Speck said Rebecca was interested in a career that involved rescuing animals or working with zoo animals.

Ed Heim, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, said Rebecca attended the local church with her family for about four years.

Heim described Rebecca -- often known as "Becca" -- as being very bright, vivacious and being able to "light up a room" with her presence.

"She was a beautiful girl, inside and out," Lisa Speck said.

An officer with the Harrison County (Miss.) Sheriff's Office said Tuesday his department had no additional information about the crash. Police said earlier they had not been able to identify the driver of the car. Another passenger in the car suffered serious injuries, police said.

Lisa Speck said her daughter was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident and she emphasized the importance of using seat belts.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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