ASHLAND – The community is mourning the second death from the Ashland-Greenwood High School Class of 2019.
Over the weekend, Claire Kresak, 18, of Ashland, died as the result of an accident on Friday night. Her funeral is set for Thursday. She is the daughter of Gene and Teresa Kresak of Ashland.
According to the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department, Kresak was driving a 2004 Ford Fusion west on Highway 6 near Pflug Road when she attempted to pass another westbound vehicle. The Fusion collided head-on with a 2007 Hyundai Entourage minivan driven by Jeffrey A. Johnson, 44, also of Ashland. The crash was reported at 10:02 p.m.
Kresak was airlifted to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where she died on Saturday evening, the sheriff’s office reported.
Johnson was injured in the collision and taken to Nebraska Medical Center with critical, but non-life threatening, injuries. Highway 6 was closed in both directions for more than four hours after the crash.
Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools began providing a crisis team for students and staff on Sunday that will continue at the high school for the next few weeks, a press release said.
“The Ashland-Greenwood community is deeply saddened by the loss of recent graduate, Claire Kresak,” the statement said.
During her four years at Ashland-Greenwood High School, Kresak was an honor roll student and earned a spot on the Academic All-Conference team. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and was active in band, speech, one-act, art, academic decathlon, journalism, cross country, wrestling, cheerleading and flag color guard.
She graduated from AGHS on May 19. She received multiple scholarships and was planning to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to study journalism and political science.
Kresak was known for her outgoing personality, unique sense of style and activism. In 2016, she and two other Ashland-Greenwood students traveled to North Dakota to observe the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. She gave a presentation about her experience to her fellow students afterward.
She was employed by Polo Ralph Lauren at the Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall.
She is survived by her parents; siblings, Kayla Kresak and Colby Kresak; grandparents, Edward and Mary Kresak; many aunts, uncles and cousins and her beloved dog, Zeppelin.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church in Ashland. She will be buried at Ashland Cemetery.
The other member of the Class of 2019 to have died was Nolan Beckenhauer, who was killed in a one-car accident in August 2017.
The full obituary can be found at www.ashland-gazette.com and in the June 13 issue of The Ashland Gazette.
- BH News Service contributed to this report.