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Published February 21 2012

Oakes mourns loss of 16-year-old in crash

OAKES, N.D. – This small town of roughly 1,800 people spent Tuesday in a state of grief, mourning the loss of one of their own.

Ashley Meyer, 16, died in a two-vehicle car crash Monday near Valley City. Meyer lost control of the car she was driving, which then spun into the lane of an oncoming minivan on slush-covered Highway 1. The minivan struck the car in the driver-side door.

Meyer’s passenger, 17-year-old Danielle Brown of Oakes, was taken to Mercy Hospital in Valley City and then to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo. Her condition is unknown.

Susan Kleingarn, a counselor at Oakes High School, said in an email students spent Tuesday dealing with the loss. She declined further comment until school officials can speak with Meyer’s parents, who Superintendent Art Conklin said had been out of state and were traveling back to Oakes.

Reached at his home, Cory Meyer, Ashley’s cousin, described the 16-year-old as a social and active person in the Oakes community.

“She was very friend oriented,” Meyer said. “She loved hanging out with her friends.”

Meyer said Ashley kept busy with cheerleading at the school and working at the Oakes Ampride C-Store.

According to the Oakes High School website, Meyer, a junior, also participated in both drama and speech.

An article in the local newspaper shows that Meyer played the flute in the high school band.

On Facebook and Twitter, Meyer’s friends from throughout Minnesota and North Dakota offered support for each other, and changed their profile pictures to that of the friend they lost.

“I asked Ashley to make the sun shine today,” one friend wrote on Facebook, “and looking out the window, I got the goose bumps because she is listening to all of us.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535