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HINCKLEY – The family of Kelsey Carey has been busy in recent weeks planning a graduation party for the Hinckley-Big Rock High School senior.
It was scheduled for June 6, one week after Carey was supposed to have received her diploma, said her maternal grandmother Mary Jane Aagesen.
But Carey, 18, of Hinckley, died Thursday after being involved in a two-vehicle accident. Carey was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident at Duffy and Howison roads about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office.
Mary Jane Aagesen said Thursday afternoon that she was struggling with the news. Carey lived with Mary Jane and her grandfather, Arthur Aagesen Jr.
“She always liked to help everyone,” Mary Jane Aagesen said. “We’re kind of upset right now. ... She was supposed to graduate Sunday, and we were going to have a big party for her next Sunday. I just still can’t believe it.”
The accident occurred about 12:45 p.m. as Carey was driving toward Waterman to meet a friend, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kevin Hickey said.
Carey had completed her required classes and was slated to graduate with her class on Sunday, H-BR Principal Jay Brickman said. He described Carey as a popular student heavily involved with FFA. Counselors will be on hand Friday at the high school to help students and teachers, Brickman said.
Carey was traveling west on Duffy Road, which Hickey said is a gravel road with an offset intersection at Howison Road. That means to continue west on Duffy, motorists have a “little bit of a jog at the intersection.”
There is a stop sign for those traveling on Duffy Road, Hickey said, and “for whatever reason, it appears that Kelsey went through the stop sign and was struck broadside” by a vehicle driven by Nancy Rissman. Those traveling on Howison Road have the right of way, Hickey said.
After being struck, Carey’s vehicle traveled into the field at the southwest corner of the intersection and rolled over onto its roof, Hickey said. It does not appear she was wearing her seat belt at the time of the accident, Hickey said.
The deputy who arrived first on the scene detected no pulse and attempted to revive Carey, Hickey said. Upon arrival emergency responders from the Hinckley and Somonauk fire departments took over and “valiantly tried to resuscitate her,” he said, to no avail.
The accident remains under investigation, Hickey said, and there is no indication that alcohol was involved. Investigators will be looking at phone and texting records to see whether Carey was distracted while she was driving, he added.
Rissman, 73, of Hinckley, was taken to Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb before being airlifted to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford. Her condition was not immediately available Thursday evening.
Her grandparents said Carey lived with them after her mother, Carla, died in 2002 and her father, Bruce, died in 2004. Her brother Bryan lives on his own, Arthur Aagesen said.
After graduation, Carey had planned to get her own apartment in the area and enroll in classes at Waubonsee Community College, he said. She was hoping to study nursing. As president of H-BR’s FFA group, Carey loved farming and working with plants, he said.
“She’s had a very rough life. ... Other people took her in and did real good with her, and she wanted to continue on her own,” Arthur Aagesen said. “She was getting pretty hyped up to go to college.”
The Rev. Donald Balgeman of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hinckley was friends with members of Carey’s family and taught Carey in confirmation classes when she was an eighth-grader.
“She’s had a very difficult time in her life, having lost both of her parents,” he said. “... Especially in light of the other tragedies, this really is another blow. It’s really going to be hard for Bryan, who’s left, and other family – grandparents and all the aunts and uncles.”
• Daily Chronicle News Editor Kate Schott contributed to this report.