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Teen drove 106 mph and used Snapchat in 'skip day' crash that killed her friend, cops say

Cristina Pavon-Baker is charged with vehicular homicide after prosecutors say she crashed her car into a tree on 'senior skip day,' killing friend Makayla Penn. Prosecutors say she was on Snapchat while driving and traveling at 106 mph.
Cristina Pavon-Baker is charged with vehicular homicide after prosecutors say she crashed her car into a tree on 'senior skip day,' killing friend Makayla Penn. Prosecutors say she was on Snapchat while driving and traveling at 106 mph. WSB-TV/Broadcast Screenshot

It was March 26 in the small city of Morrow, Georgia, when 17-year-old Cristina Pavon-Baker's Mini Cooper left the road, flipped several times and then slammed into a tree, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The impact was so hard the tree was partially uprooted, according to WSB-TV.

Pavon-Baker survived — but her passenger, 18-year-old Makayla Penn, wasn't so lucky. Now Pavon-Baker faces a vehicular homicide charge in her friend's death after prosecutors say she was driving at more than 100 miles per hour, according to WSB-TV.

The two friends, seniors at Community Christian School in Stockbridge, were driving down Interstate 75 on a "senior skip day," which one student told Fox 5 was "supposed to be a fun day for seniors to get to enjoy while the rest of school has class." The school later told WXIA it was a day when students were excused to do college visits or other activities.

In court, prosecutors said Pavon-Baker was traveling at 106 mph when the car left the roadway on a curve and became airborne, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"We have some information that Snapchat may have been used," Cayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said in court, according to WSB-TV.

Pavon-Baker was able to crawl out from under the wreckage and was taken to the hospital, WXIA reported.

Morrow police described the horrors of the crash scene in a Facebook post.

"I am very proud of the compassion shown by our Officers today. The parents of the victim of this crash actually came to the crash site. We had to make sure they did not go up to the car. Today I saw tough cops holding a devastated Mother. Today I saw tough cops hugging a lost Father. Say a prayer for this family tonight and tell your kids you love them," Morrow Police Chief James Callaway wrote.

Morrow Officers were the first ones on scene. I am very proud of the compassion shown by our Officers today. The...

Posted by City of Morrow Police Department on Monday, March 26, 2018

Students at Community Christian School held a prayer vigil two days later, according to the Henry Herald. "That girl loved well and she was loved well,” Danni Washburn, an English teacher at the school, told the paper of Makayla. “(She) had a glow about her that will never be put out. It’s a light that I will always remember.”

Pavon-Baker faces charges of speeding, reckless driving and vehicular homicide, The Henry Herald reported. While in court for her first appearance, Pavon-Baker's lawyer asked the judge not to order her to surrender her passport because she was scheduled to go on a cruise with her family in May, WSB-TV reported.

"She doesn't need to be on a cruise enjoying herself,” Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said in response, according to the station.

The judge agreed. Pavon-Baker was given a $31,000 bond after appearing in court Wednesday and was ordered to surrender her passport, stay off Snapchat and not drive as a condition of her bond, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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