Students and staff at the Center for Creative Arts are grappling with the sudden loss of the school's senior class president after she died in a motorcycle crash early Monday morning.
Kelly Butler, 17, was riding her Honda to school about 8 a.m. when she veered off the road near the 5700 block of Lake Resort Drive, a witness told Chattanooga police.
She was thrown from the bike and suffered extensive injuries, officials said. Paramedics rushed her to a local hospital, but she was pronounced dead on arrival.
CCA Principal Deborah Smith called Butler's death "a tremendous loss."
Butler was at the top of her class and was involved in theater productions at the school, Smith said.
"With her intelligence, her personality, every door would have been open to her. She was a theater major who conveyed so many wonderful stories to people through her acting," Smith said. "We all feel this loss."
Smith said counselors from schools across the county would help students through the grieving process.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary said traffic investigators are looking into what caused Butler to veer off the road, but that because this is a single-vehicle accident, no charges will be filed.
Staff writer Joan Garrett contributed to this report.
Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at 423-757-6673 or kharrison@times freepress.com.