Teen's Death Sparks Safety Changes to Stafford Road

Stafford County leaders voted to shut down a popular boat ramp after a teenager died in a crash on her 17th birthday.

Helen Wang was turning from the Abel Lake Boat Ramp onto Kellogg Mill Road in Fredericksburg on May 16 when a truck collided with her car. She died at the scene of the crash.

Her classmates at Colonial Forge High School delivered a passionate and emotional plea to Stafford's board of supervisors Tuesday night to clear the trees that could have blocked Wang's view when she turned onto Kellogg Mill Road.

"I would be willing to go out and even clear the vegetation myself. I just think something has to be done before another one of our friends is taken too soon," one young lady said at the meeting.

"I am thankful that we are having this conversation, but I am disappointed that it's happening under these conditions," a young man said.

The board voted to close the boat ramp and parking lot until the Virginia Department of Transportation can clear the trees. 

Wang was an honor student and loved competing on the Stingrays swim team.

Stingrays swim coach Anthony Pedersen said he got news of Wang's death as he was mowing his lawn last Thursday.

"It literally floored me ... put me right on the ground in my front yard," Pedersen said.

The junior also had a passion for animals and volunteered with the SPCA.

On Monday, hundreds of students wore yellow in her honor and raised money for a scholarship fund in her name.

"She loved sunflowers. She loved sunsets and all that stuff so, we thought that was the best way to honor her," Wang's friend Madelyn Foreman said.

Her friends say yellow is also the color that most resembles Wang's bright personality.

"She was just so sweet to everyone. Like, she would never say anything negative about a person and I think that’s why she made so many friends. And that’s why I loved her so much," Foreman said.

Countless bouquets of yellow flowers piled high by the pool at the Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport Center, where Wang spent much of her time practicing and as a lifeguard.

Her coaches, friends and their parents started the Helen Wang Memorial Scholarship Fund to create a lasting tribute.

"I think in the first 36 hours, we've already gotten close to $4,000 on it," Pedersen said.

"I’m going to swim for her every race. That's who I will think about when I race," Foreman said.

Check here for more information about how to donate to the scholarship fund.

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