TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Phoebe Elliot was 13-years-old and looking forward to her 14th birthday that’s coming up on Monday, February 8.
“I just can’t believe she’s gone,” said her aunt Lisa Capps, who was driving her Blazer with Phoebe in the passenger seat early Wednesday morning when Taylor Police say an intoxicated Noah Damron ran the red light and crashed into them, killing Phoebe.
“She was a happy, beautiful soul,” said Phoebe’s uncle Darren Capps.
Lisa was released from the hospital Thursday night to continue recovering at home. She has several broken ribs and other internal injuries from the crash.
While a reckless driver who was also allegedly intoxicated caused the deadly crash, Darren and other relatives are wondering if the landscaping around the intersection where the deadly crash occurred may be blocking the ability of motorists going west on North Line Road to spot a dangerous driver heading south on Telegraph.
Lisa had the green light early Wednesday morning. It was dark and surveillance video from a nearby business shows her Blazer crossing over the southbound lanes and getting broadsided by Damron’s vehicle. He failed to stop at his red light.
Phoebe’s family wonders if removing the small hill and trees might give drivers the chance to spot any reckless driver heading south before it’s too late.
Taylor Police Chief John Blair said a lot of drivers already seem to pick up speed on the southbound lanes of Telegraph Road between Goddard and North Line because there are fewer businesses where drivers would normally have to slow down as vehicles enter and exit along the way.
Blair said a crash that killed two people at the same intersection in May 2019 was identical to the crash that killed Phoebe Wednesday.
An impaired driver was speeding south on Telegraph Road, ran the red light, and collided with a semi, he told 7 Action News.
Blair said he, himself, was going to drive through the same intersection Friday to see if the hill in the median does put drivers going west on North Line at a disadvantage.
On Friday, Lisa and Darren Capps talked about the caring 13-year-old girl, their “social butterfly,” who was always eager to meet people and make new friends wherever she went.
The couple took Phoebe and her younger brother and sister in nine years ago. Phoebe, they said, called them mom and dad.
And with their sons, they were raising seven children in their home in Allen Park.
Outside the home, a sign that represents Phoebe’s hard work in school sits in the garden.
“Allen Park Middle School” student of the month lives here.
Everyone was so proud of her. Darren, dad, said he knew Phoebe was destined to do good in this world. And through his tears, he thanked everyone who has called, visited, prayed for them, and made a donation to a GoFundMe that was started by a family friend.
As they began making funeral arrangements for Phoebe, her dad said they never knew how expensive it could be.
“We would never have been able to do that,” he said, referring to what they’re now able to get for Phoebe’s funeral.
“We’re so grateful,” he said.
A vigil is planned for 8:00 Friday night, February 5, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Taylor.
Another vigil is scheduled to take place on Phoebe’s birthday, Monday, February 8, at 6 PM outside Allen Park Middle School.
Both Darren and Lisa Capps admit that they usually lead a quiet life, but for their Phoebe, they’re okay with the overwhelming response from the community. They say it’s what their social butterfly would have wanted.