17-year-old Columbia High School student killed in Grafton Township crash

GRAFTON TOWNSHIP-The Elyria Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a crash that claimed the life of a 17-year-old girl.

The single-car accident happened Wednesday around 9 p.m. on Capel Road, east of State Route 83 in Grafton Township.

Troopers said Danielle Eckert was driving a 2002 Ford Explorer when she traveled off the left side of the road and struck a tree. The teen was taken to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, where she later passed away.

Danielle attended Columbia High School. The school district released the following statement '

Columbia Local Schools is mourning the death of one of our own, Danielle Eckert.  Danielle attended Columbia since kindergarten and recently withdrew to E.C.O.T.  We send our thoughts and condolences to her family and friends.  Danielle was a friend to so many at CHS and in our community and was loved by all.  We will miss her smile and friendship.  The Lorain County Schools Crisis Counseling Team, school counselors and administrators as well as local clergy were on hand at Columbia High School today to talk to our students.  Our school family is still in shock and saddened by this tragic accident.  Once a Raider…Always a Raider!"

Investigators say alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash. They also say the teen was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.  It remains under investigation.