At least 50 friends and family gathered on Thursday night to honor Kaniesha Sutton, a 16-year-old girl who died in a car accident on New Year’s Day in Phoenix.
Sutton died Wednesday after being expelled from an SUV driven by a man who, according to police, was damaged.
People gathered around a vigil outside a store near 16th Street and Roeser Road in southern Phoenix, the same intersection where Sutton died.
At the beginning of the vigil, the crowd threw purple and black balloons to the sky and shouted: “We love you, Niesha!”
A sign on a vigil for Kaniesha Sutton, 16, who died after an accident on New Year’s Day in Phoenix. (Photo: Christopher Roth / The Republic)
“She taught me everything I know now. I don’t know what it would be without her,” Sutton’s sister, Kaiondra Sutton, told The Arizona Republic. Kaiondra had already had a tattoo to honor her sister, who attended South Mountain High School.
“People out there drinking and driving: don’t do it,” said Aunt Rocha Baker. “It’s killing children.”
Family raising money to cover funeral expenses
Kaniesha’s mother began raising money to cover funeral expenses, she told The Arizona Republic on Thursday.
Quintina Sutton described her daughter, Kaniesha Sutton, as thoughtful, gentle and fighter with an “adorable spirit,” according to The GoFundMe campaign The GoFundme raised $ 210 from its $ 2,000 goal on Thursday night.
She was a frontline student who dreamed of being a doctor, according to the campaign. He was the second oldest of eight brothers, he said.
“She had an incredible impulse and a strong impulse for her, her family and friends,” said the campaign. “Many will miss her and miss her forever.”
Monica Coleman, who lives in Atlanta and is one of Kaniesha’s grandmothers, also created a separate GoFundMe campaign for the family, Quintina confirmed with The Republic on Thursday.
Driver arrested, had BAC of 0.102%
Kelvin Allen, 24. (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)
Kelvin D. Allen, Jr., 24, is accused of being affected while driving the SUV involved in the accident early Wednesday.
Allen was driving a 2003 Nissan Pathfinder north on 16th Street near Roeser Road in southern Phoenix when he tried to move to another northbound vehicle, said a probable cause statement filed in court.
Police say he lost control of the SUV and slipped off the road, hitting a “block fence” that surrounded a business on the west side of the road. Allen told police that the rear of the SUV hit the front of the vehicle that passed, however, he could not provide any details about the car, according to police.
There were five passengers inside the SUV at the time of the accident, including Kaniesha, who was expelled from the passenger’s backseat, according to court records. She died at the scene.
Three other passengers, including a 15-year-old boy, were transported to the hospital with minor injuries, while a fourth passenger was not injured in the accident, according to court records.
Officers say Allen showed signs of disability, including red eyes, bloodshot and watery eyes, a smell of alcohol from his breath and his admission to drink alcohol earlier in the night, according to court records. In addition, a preliminary breath test showed a reading of 0.102%, according to court records.
Allen was charged with suspected murder, aggravated assault and three counts of danger, according to court records.
He is being held on bail of $ 75,000.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @curtis_chels. Contact the journalist at Christopher.Roth@gannett.com or on Twitter @cprothnews.
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