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Family and friends remember Concord student killed in car crash

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CONCORD, N.C. -- A Concord High School student who died in a car crash during the weekend is being remembered.

Highway patrol troopers say 18-year old Julia Morris ran off the road Saturday while rounding a curve on Highway 73. They say she overcorrected causing the car to flip and hit a light pole. The passenger and rising senior, 17-year-old Kelly Jo Campbell died. The two teens attended a graduation ceremony earlier in the day.

In just 17 and a half years, Campbell supplied those who knew her with a lifetime full of memories--mainly funny ones. On Monday, her family, teachers and staff gathered at Concord High School to share their stories to help them come to grips with their loss.

“[She] loved as many people as much as she could,” said Brittany Campbell, Kelly Jo’s sister.

What she loved included her high school where she was in theater and the band.

Described as a natural born leader, they say she had an intense passion about everything she did and was never at a loss for words.

"She would just come up with a new way of thinking about something," reminisced teacher Nancy Patterson. "You would have to stop a minute and say that isn't something I thought about before but that's really interesting."

Patterson got choked up when remembering how kind Campbell was to her while she endured health problems this year.

The youngest of three, Campbell's family says she was wise beyond her years.

“[She] taught us it’s ok to make mistakes and how to bounce back from them,” said Katie Morgan, another of Kelly Jo’s sisters.

Despite their grief, her family says they are at peace and are grateful for the time they spent together, saying they now have an angel.

"It was her time to move on because there was nothing else in life that Kelly could have taught us," explained Morgan. "I wish we had more of it. But I just believe that Kelly was just that vivacious and that full of life."

School closed last week, but word quickly spread about the accident. Campbell's classmates even painted a rock in her memory.

Kelly's family and friends are not rehashing the accident. Instead, they're choosing to focus on what made her so special.

A visitation will be held Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Central United Methodist Church in Concord. The funeral will be held there on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Any donations can be made to the church located at 30 Union St. North, Concord 28025. Donations can also be sent to the Tarheel Keystone Club at 247 Spring St. NW, Concord 28025.

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