GILBERT, Ariz. - Keli Rutledge, an up-and-coming Valley musician was killed in a crash Friday, according to the Gilbert Police Department.
"The initial shock is still there from the [church family], that she’s gone," said Ryan Lambros, Keli’s high school pastor at Rock Point Church in Queen Creek, "Anytime we lose somebody we love there’s an emptiness that comes with it."
That crash happened just after 9 a.m. Friday, near Queen Creek and Higley roads in Gilbert, when two cars traveling in opposite directions collided.
Rutledge, 18, was in one car. Emilio DeLeon, 26, was driving the second car.
"She has a big voice. Just full of soul and power," said Sterling Rogers, who had a choir class with Keli at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
Rutledge, who graduated last year from Campo Verde High School, had just been accepted to ASU's music program and was focused on pursuing a career in music.
Friends say her life was devoted to her faith, family and music.
Rutledge was taken to a local hospital where she later died Friday night due to massive head trauma.
DeLeon was injured as well, but police do not have an update on his condition.
Police said the investigation into the crash is ongoing, however, preliminary evidence makes them believe DeLeon may have been impaired at the time of the crash.
A vigil is planned to honor Rutledge's memory on Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Rock Point Church in Queen Creek.
"Everybody knows she’s teaching angels how to sing; Teaching angels how to play guitar," Lambroa said. "She’s leading the singing up there."
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