15-year-old dies in crash with ‘reckless’ motorcyclist fleeing police, GA troopers say

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Screengrab from 5979 Youth Ministry's Facebook page

Friends say Joelle Keili was best known for her “bright smile.” Others lauded her as a “kind and beautiful young lady.”

“We are going to miss you and will always have you in our heart!” a friend wrote on a memorial page for the 15-year-old Georgia girl. “Fly high beautiful angel!!!”

Joelle died Monday, March 27, after a motorcyclist fleeing police crashed into her car, according to state troopers.

The chase started at about 9:20 p.m on GA State Route 3 in Bartow County and ended in neighboring Cobb County, police wrote in a preliminary report. Sheriff’s deputies asked troopers for assistance as they tried to stop two bikers who were said to be racing.

One of the motorcycles was traveling at “a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner” before it slammed into a Honda Accord that had turned onto Acworth Summit Boulevard, the report said.

The bike struck the side of the car, injuring a 15-year-old passenger. The motorcyclist, a 20-year-old man, died at the scene, police said.

The injured passenger, later identified as Joelle, was taken to a hospital where she died.

The beloved teen was a sophomore at Allatoona High School where she sang in the choir, WXIA reported. Family members said Joelle also had a love for fashion and architecture, according to the news station.

The Cobb County School District offered its condolences to the Allatoona community, writing: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and teachers,” a district spokesperson said.

“A beautiful light and life has been snuffed out far too early,” one of Joelle’s former teachers wrote on her memorial page. “She was a wonderful student with a vibrant smile and warm soul. Your family will be in our prayers for comfort in the difficult days and times ahead.”

“Joelle was the sweetest most loving accepting person I knew,” someone else wrote. “She could always make anyones day better by making a joke or doing something goofy.”

The youth ministry where Joelle attended church held a vigil in her memory on March 29, according to a Facebook post.

Authorities said the crash remains under investigation.

Cobb County is about 20 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.

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