Family, friends remember 18-year-old killed in accident days before graduation
CHATHAM, Va. (WSET) -- Friday, Tunstall High School students will walk across the stage for graduation without classmate, Brandi Beckelheimer, 18. Her life was cut short following a car accident Sunday.
Friends said she's going to be extremely missed every day, but especially graduation day.
Brandi was a senior and this year's Homecoming Queen.
"She had the most beautiful smile I've ever seen," her friend Mallarie Kidd said.
North Carolina State Police said Brandi was in an SUV with four other teenagers driving home from Hyco Lake in North Carolina on Sunday around 8:30 p.m.
State Trooper Mark Melvin said the driver, 17, was going down Concord Ceffo Road in Semora, NC. He explained Brandi was hanging out the front passenger window and fell out on to the asphalt. She died on Monday from her injuries.
The ages of the teenagers in the vehicle ranged from 17-18.
Police said alcohol was involved in the crash. Trooper Melvin said the driver had .06 of blood alcohol content in his system.
Not all of the teenagers in the vehicle had alcohol in their system, but investigators did draw blood from Brandi to see if she had been drinking.
The driver of the SUV has been charged with driving while impaired and was given an underage DWI.
Brandi would have graduated with honors and was a Graduate of Merit Recipient.
Carlie Moser has been friends with Brandi since seventh grade. "She was full of life," Carlie said. "Never had anything negative to say. Everybody loved her... you can't meet a person that didn't like her," she continued.
Brandi was also a varsity cheerleader for the football and basketball teams. She also danced at Danville Academy of Dance for the past two years.
Dance Director Ann Pflugshaupt said she had so much ahead of her.
"Brandi was determined, she worked so hard," Pflugshaupt said. "She had true grit."
Caribbea Sheets cheered and danced with Brandi. "She was one of the best cheerleaders on the team and if you ever needed her for anything, she was always there for you and she'd never let you down," Caribbea said.
Her friends said Brandi always made the best out of every situation.
Her boyfriend, Rusty Brady, said her smile could light up a room. "She is just a outgoing person," he said. "Anytime you was with her, she was going to make a memory... anytime... everywhere, it didn't matter where you were or when it was."
He said they had a lot of plans for the future like traveling and being successful, but that was cut short on Monday.
"Me and Brandi were planning on joining the Coast Guard together because we both were just indecisive about what we wanted to do and that would like just help us," Moser said.
They planned to use the buddy system and join the Coast Guard together.
"So we're on the way to the recruiter in Raleigh and we're filling our paperwork out and filling out the medical stuff," Carlie said. "Brandi looks down and she's like 'hmm, double vision, yeah! I have that.' and my mom turns around and she's like 'you have double vision?' and she goes 'yeah I see out of both of my eyes!'."
It was moments like that when she made people laugh. She was know as a funny girl and her friends said she always made the best out of every situation.
Brandi later applied to Radford University and got accepted. She was planning on attending there this fall to major in the medical field.
Brandi leaves behind her family and friends who said she will never be forgotten.
"You were my best friend Brandi," Moser said. "I'm never gonna forget you and I'm gonna live on your legacy forever."
Brandi's family will be receiving friends and family Sunday starting at 2:30 p.m. at Hope Church in Danville, then a memorial service will take place at 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers Brandi's family wishes memorial donations be sent to the Tunstall High School Cheerleaders.