Girl's dream turns to tragedy with death in auto accident

By Dena Sloan

Globe Staff Writer

NEOSHO, Mo. - Driving was Hannah Frazier's ultimate dream and her family members say she regarded reaching the age of 16 a major accomplishment.

Years before getting her license, Hannah Frazier went on a test drive of a new Volkswagen Beetle with her father, Randy Frazier, behind the wheel. Later on, getting the keys to her bright red 1998 Volkswagen Golf meant freedom.

"Sixteen was her life," Randy Frazier said of his daughter Monday afternoon as he sat on the front porch of his Neosho home while family members looked through old family pictures.

"Even after she turned 16, she said turning 16 was her dream."

But it was a dream that ended too soon.

Hannah Frazier, 17, and her brother Drew, 16, were traveling to church Sunday morning along Highway 86 west of Neosho in her red Golf when the right tire caught the edge of the road. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, it appeared that she tried to gain control of the car but overcorrected, sending the vehicle into a ditch, where it overturned. The impact threw both brother and sister out of the car. Emergency responders believe neither was wearing a seat belt.

Drew Frazier was taken by ambulance to Freeman West Hospital in Joplin, where he was expected to be released sometime today. Hannah Frazier's parents said emergency responders believe she died on impact.

Late Monday afternoon, Randy and Janice Frazier sat on a small wooden bench in front of their Neosho home telling stories about their oldest daughter, the unofficial leader of the family's six children. Hannah's fianc, Robert Taylor, stood quietly by with his arms crossed, smiling when Hannah's parents recalled her passion for bargain hunting and their frequent shopping trips.

"She'd make 20 trips to Joplin to save $5," he said.

Tears came and went as Janice Frazier described her daughter as a giving, loving girl who was devoted to her family and was generous with the money she earned taking phone orders at the Scholastic Books operation in Neosho.

"She loved her job, she made friends easily," said Janice Frazier, her eyes rimmed with red. "Everything she did, she put her whole heart into it."

Piles of Christmas gifts were already stacked in her bedroom. Her parents recalled how Hannah took her younger siblings along on outings and errands with her fianc, including her autistic 9-year-old brother. Hannah spoke about eventually becoming a speech pathologist after completing her home-schooling courses next spring. A wedding was scheduled for July.

In addition to the church youth group and mission activities, volleyball, piano lessons and friends and family that kept her busy, Hannah's parents said their daughter reveled in her job taking phone orders at Scholastic Books. She would often strike up conversations with customers, getting to know them, asking about the weather. The Neosho teen had hoped her family would put off as long as possible its plans to move to Chetopa, Kan., where her father is a pastor. She wanted to continue her work at Scholastic Books.

"She liked the fact that she could take grumpy calls and smooth them out," her father said. "She liked to fix problems."

Friends and relatives gathered in support at the Fraziers' home Monday afternoon.

"She touched a lot of lives," Janice Frazier said.

Visitation for Hannah Frazier will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. today at Clark Funeral Homes, 312 S. Wood St., Neosho. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Bible Holiness Assembly of God, 614 N. High St., Neosho. Burial is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery, east of Chetopa, Kan.

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