Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 19, 2013

Students mourn loss of Kingsley girl, father

KINGSLEY — Christa Pipoly was known as one of Kingsley Middle School’s top athletes.

She motivated her teammates during basketball, volleyball and softball games and her father, David, 52, could be seen on the sidelines, often with a bag of goodies to share.

“He worked for (Gordon Food Service), so he always had some kind of snack,” said Heidi Musser, a parent of a teammate and friend. “He was involved in everything that she did. He was always there.”

David and Christa Pipoly, 13, died Sunday morning after their vehicle collided with a Grand Traverse County Road Commission plow truck. Michigan State Police said Pipoly’s vehicle was headed west on Sparling Road and failed to stop at the Summit City Road intersection, where it struck a plow truck traveling north.

A second passenger in the Pipoly vehicle and the driver of the plow truck were transported to Munson Medical Center. State police continue to investigate.

”We are absolutely saddened,” said Jim Cook, Grand Traverse Road Commission manager. Cook called the crash “a horrific and tragic accident.”

”My understanding is the car missed the stop sign,” Cook said. “Our truck was at the intersection at the same time.”

Cook declined to release the plow truck driver’s name.

Students at Kingsley Middle School had Monday off because of a staff development day. Between meetings school employees embraced and grieved the loss of a student who made “great connections,” said Superintendent Keith Smith.

Christa also ran track and played percussion in the band. She earned all As and was the school’s student of the month for January, Smith said.

The school canceled Monday’s basketball game with Traverse City West Middle School. Christa was a starting forward.

Teammates McKenna Musser and Haven Robinson cried and hugged near Christa’s locker Monday after they hung a poster with photos of the friends smiling, taped onto sports balloons.

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