Highland High School senior Hannah M. Dunn, 18, died Friday in a single-car crash on her way to the Ebbert Education Center.

At the corners of County Road 500 North, west of County Road 200 East, her 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier ran off the south side of the road, traveled 139 feet while flipping and ejected Dunn around 7:07 a.m.

According to a report from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Dunn wasn’t wearing a seat belt while driving at a speed of 60 mph in a 45-mph zone.

“The cause is undetermined,” Captain Rick Garrett said. “We have no idea why she lost control of the vehicle. I don’t think the excessive speed caused the crash. However, it would’ve made the injuries worse.

“The driver’s compartment was intact,” Garrett said. “We felt that if she was wearing a seat belt she would’ve not sustained fatal injuries. It could have been several things, including her attention could’ve been distracted.”

Richland Township Fire Department transported Dunn to Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 8:01 a.m.

“In lieu of the whole situation, it’ll be good if drivers just buckle up and slow down a little. Seat belts do save lives,” said Richland Township Fire Chief Brandon Leisure.

At Highland, school counselors were on hand, social workers were dispatched and youth ministers called to comfort students.

“Hannah Dunn was a very academically able student,” said Lennon C. Brown, Highland High School principal. “She engaged in some of the most challenging courses with “A” and “B” student capabilities.

“She was a very nice young lady who, like many students, was looking forward to things later on in life. She supported her school as cheerleader until her knee injury her junior year.”

Friend and cheerleader Shelley Dunham was too emotionally distraught, like other students, and stayed in the principal’s office much of the day.

“She was always smiling,” Dunham reminisced. “I will never go over the speed limit again. I’ll buckle up forever. I just thought this doesn’t happen here.

“My mother said, ‘You wonder why everyday I tell you to be careful,’” Dunham added.

Madison County Coroner Ned Dunnichay said Dunn died of blunt force injuries to the head and chest.

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