LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) - After driving off the road, crashing her PT Cruiser, and becoming trapped inside the burning vehicle, Tara Beran didn't call 911.
Instead the 20-year-old former Lowell High School cheerleader called her dad to ask him for help.
When he and emergency crews arrived on scene it was already too late. The vehicle was already engulfed in flames. Beran's body was pulled from the vehicle after the flames were extinguished.
Friends and family confirmed that Beran was the victim in the crash, although investigators held off on releasing her name until medical examiners make positive identification.
Investigators are still looking into exactly why Beran drove straight through a stop sign at a 'T' intersection at Bennett Street and Cumberland Avenue in Lowell Township, but they think the bright morning sunshine may have been a factor.
Several of Beran's friends came to the crash scene, some hoping to get an idea of what went wrong.
"It's like a nightmare," said Pat Plite, one of Beran's friends. "It hasn't really hit me yet."
Beran was a student at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago where she was studying fashion marketing and management. She was home in Lowell for the summer and was planning to go back to school in the coming days.
An only child to her parents, Tara was an advocate for finding a cure to breast cancer. Her mother died from the disease several years ago.
Friends describe Beran as an energetic, fun-loving person who always liked to make others laugh.
"She was just always one that had a smile on her face no matter what," Plite said.
The Kent County Sheriff's Department is still working to learn what may have caused the crash and why Beran could not get out of the car.
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