The young woman killed in a Dec. 30 crash involving a state trooper’s vehicle on U.S. 1 near New Hill was heading to her parents’ home in Sanford. A family friend has set up a crowdfunding site to pay for the funeral expenses of Brianna Lee Vann, a West Johnston High School and Wake Technical College graduate who was just 23 at the time of the crash.
“Anyone that has buried a child knows not only how difficult this is emotionally but also financially,” friend Heather Carpenter-Moore wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday. “We are asking for contributions of any amount to help the family with the expense of having this funeral.”
Through this morning, the site had earned $5,477 in donations, more than half its $10,000 goal. Brianna’s funeral is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Shiloh Baptist Church in Garner. The family will receive friends and family at the church from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Brianna died Friday after slamming into the back of a North Carolina state trooper’s SUV in the southbound lane on U.S. 1, according to published reports. The trooper, who wasn’t in his vehicle when it was hit, was investigating an overturned truck on U.S. 1 between the Old U.S. 1 and New Hill Road exits. Several media outlets reported that Brianna swerved into the median when the vehicle in front of her slowed down as it approached the overturned truck site. She overcorrected after hitting the median and crashed into the SUV. She was pronounced dead at the accident scene. The wreck shut down traffic in the southbound lane for hours on Friday and caused significant delays in the northbound lane as well.
According to the crowdfunding site, Brianna was someone with “an infectious smile, bubbly personality and unique ‘Brii’ attitude.”She was an avid gamer, working the past year as a player support representative for Epic Games in Cary after receiving her associates degree from Wake Tech in simulation and game development. She wrote on her LinkedIn page: “I have always been fascinated with video games, ever since I was a little girl watching my dad play Baldurs Gate and eventually my #1 favorite PC game Diablo 2. It has been a wonder growing up in the time that I have. Getting to see video games evolve to these larger-than-life graphical and technical marvels. … I hope to become a part of this fantastic phenomenon soon.”
Donations in excess of burial costs will be used to pay vet bills for Briann’s puppy that was in the car when the accident happened. “Little Zoe” is in critical care and needs surgery on her legs. Estimated vet fees also exceed $10,000.
Correction: portions of this story erroneously stated the day of the wreck.