Zebulon teen killed in crash was first in family to attend college, hoped to be a doctor, mom says

ZEBULON, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wake County mom is grieving and seeking help as she prepares to bury her 18-year-old daughter.


Tachina Smith of Zebulon was killed in a car crash Saturday night in Franklin County just over the Wake County line.

UPDATE: Vigil held for Zebulon teen who died in crash

Her mom says she was a bright young woman — the first in her family to go to college.

Mom Tiffany Smith says she’s relying on her faith to get through this tragedy.

And, she says she holds no grudges against the young man charged in connection with crash.

“Faith has a lot to do with it. That’s what’s keeping me strong,” Tiffany Smith said Sunday.

Previous story: Teen girl killed in Franklin County crash

Tiffany says her daughter was prepared to do whatever it took to accomplish her goals.

Tachina graduated from Vernon Malone College and Career Academy where she was an honor roll student.

She had just started classes at UNC Pembroke, where she was studying biology, hoping one day to be an OBGYN.

“She said, ‘Mom, I’m gonna be in school til I’m about 29.’ I said, ‘As long you do what you need to do to get where you need to get to, and as long as you’re happy, I support you 100 percent,” Tiffany Smith said.

But those dreams would never come to be.

Saturday night, Tachina was killed in a crash at the intersection of Pilot-Riley Road and Williams-White Road just north of Zebulon in Franklin County.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol says 18-year-old Makel Breece, who also lives near the crash site, ran a stop sign, colliding with another car.

Investigators say Tachina was in the back seat of Breece’s car, but wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

“It’s very dark down there, and it’s only a stop sign. I think they should do better with maybe blinking lights in that area because it’s a very dark area,” Tiffany Smith said.

It’s a concern echoed by neighbors living near the intersection, who often see drivers ignoring the stop signs.

“They have quite a few wrecks here, they sure do,” said John Thompson, who lives nearby.

“And, it could have happened to anybody. It really could have,” Tiffany Smith says.

Smith says her daughter and Breece – the driver of the car — were friends.

“I want him to know I still love him and nothing changes. It happened, and we just can’t take it back,” Tiffany Smith said.

“I just hold my head up high and trying to take it day by day because she had other siblings that I’m having to be strong for, so I’m just trying to keep it together for the other siblings too,” Smith added.

Troopers charged Breece with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Tiffany’s mom is inviting people who would like to honor her life to come to the intersection of Pilot-Riley Road and Williams-White Road Monday at 6 p.m. Monday.

She’s also asking for help to cover funeral expenses.

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