Christina Rose Finney was a leader, a friend and one of North Idaho’s top runners. On Thursday, less than a week before her high school graduation, she died.
Idaho State Police say the 18-year-old track and cross country star from Post Falls High School died when her truck and another girl’s car collided at Lincoln Street and Mullan Avenue in Post Falls.
The accident sent three other Post Falls High School students to the hospital and left Finney’s friends and family devastated.
“This is really a tragedy for such a beautiful and talented girl,” said Sue Sippl-Lauer, one of her track coaches. “She was a really talented girl.”
Danielle Muncey, 16, was driving her Subaru station wagon south on Lincoln about 2:30 p.m., according to an ISP report. Finney was heading east on Mullan when the two Post Falls students collided at the intersection.
Finney was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. The pickup rolled, striking Finney and causing fatal head wounds, according to the police report.
ISP officials would not say which driver had failed to yield the right of way.
Muncey had three passengers in her car. Michelle Muncey, 14, was not injured, according to the ISP. Camille Muncey, 17, was taken to Kootenai Medical Center where she was listed in fair condition late Thursday. Sean Garrison, 15, was taken to KMC, where he was treated and released.
Finney’s list of accomplishments highlight her passion for running.
She won the A-1 Region I cross country race last fall, becoming the first Post Falls girl to win it in the program’s 14-year history.
She finished seventh at the state cross country meet.
She was voted top female runner on the All-North Idaho cross country team.
The Spokesman-Review named her Athlete of the Week last Oct. 27.
She placed second in the 3,200 meter run at the regional track meet.
“She really had self-determination,” said Jim Wyatt, her cross country coach. “She was driven.”
He said it wasn’t unusual for the teenager to run late at night or at the crack of dawn.
Wyatt said he would jokingly threaten the high school senior that he was going to call her parents just to make sure she was getting her rest.
At times last year, Finney worked two summer jobs while continuing training runs in preparation for her senior season of cross country and track.
Finney planned to run for North Idaho College, Sippl-Lauer said.
But Finney was more than just the team’s best runner.
“She was basically a team leader on our team, for both the boys and the girls,” Wyatt said. “She was the driving force in the group.”
The Post Falls High School will remain open until 8 p.m. tonight. The school district’s crisis assistance team members will be available to counsel students.
In an interview before her death Finney talked about how running had become a love for her.
“It’s weird people always think, ‘You love to run? Why do you love to run, it’s so hard on your body?’ she said. “I like the feeling after you’re done of actually accomplishing something, of how good you feel. Inside, you feel like you’re stronger.”
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