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Car crash victim remembered

By Amanda Porterfield |

Published 10/17 2013 09:39PM

Updated 10/18 2013 09:42AM

WESTVILLE -- It started out as a night of fun, but ended in tragedy. Now, a Vermilion County woman is urging people not to drink and drive.

Funeral services were held Thursday for 19-year old Nicole Harris, who was killed in a crash over the weekend. Harris was thrown from the car with three others.

Harris died, and two others were seriously hurt. Police say the driver, who had been drinking, could face charges.

All of the people in the car were very close, but the survivor says it took one night to change each of their lives, and her perspective on drinking and driving, forever.

"I made a choice I'll never be able to fix," said Aissa Wright.

It was just a day after the crash which changed her life and killed her younger cousin. After a few surgeries, Wright is recovering, physically at least.

"I broke my collarbone, my head is swollen. I have liver and spleen lacerations. We were all real good friends, and I know none of us would want anything to happen to each other."

Wright and three others were in a Jeep. They were headed to the country to hang out at a familiar spot called Brunsonville. Wright says the driver, Jake Erickson, was not paying attention.

He went off the road, tried to correct it, and all four flew out of the car. Wright remembers hitting the roof and nothing after that.

Wright says they had been to this area dozens of times, and knew Erickson well.

"I knew he had been drinking, but I didn't know to what extent. I trusted everybody's judgement."

Wright says that trust is gone now that her younger cousin is dead. Nicole Harris, who Wright says was not drinking, died in the wreck. She had not seen Nicole in months, because she was busy at cosmetology school.

"She was going to go far. She knew what she wanted in life and she was going for it."

Because of this, Wright may be blind in one eye forever. But she sees value in warning others about making one bad decision.

"I made the decision to get in that vehicle and I have to live with it. If I know that they're drinking and they're going to drive, I will try to stop them if I can. And I won't drink anymore."

The Vermilion County State's Attorney says he has not made a decision about charges in the case. He says police reports are not finished but hopes a decision will be made soon.

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