Bonduel High School student dies from injuries in car accident

Leader Reporter

Ashley Reinke was remembered Saturday by family and teachers as an active, involved student at Bonduel High School.

"Anything she could get her hands into it, she did it," said Reinke's aunt, Chris Reinke.

Reinke, a good student who participated in numerous extracurricular activities and sports, died Friday afternoon from injuries she sustained in a car accident Wednesday morning. She was 17.

Chris said Reinke was involved in so many activities, including the yearbook and newspaper staff, because it was in her personality to be outgoing.

"She was one of those people that wasn't afraid to speak her opinion, but said it very eloquently and respectfully," she said.

Because of that, Chris said it was ideal Reinke had aspirations of going to St. Norbert College and becoming a lawyer.

"She had a way with words. She could talk her way out of anything," Chris said. "She would have made a great lawyer. Definitely somebody you would want on your side."

Reinke, a junior from Cecil, touched the lives of many people at school, said chemistry/algebra teacher Dave Hedtke.

"Any time a gal is so energetic and so active, she can't help but touch the lives of lots of people," Hedtke said.

Besides being a student in Hedtke's freshman algebra class and junior chemistry class, Reinke served as the statistition and score keeper for the boys basketball team for the last two years. Hedtke is the head coach.

She was a member of the girls volleyball team and also kept stats for the baseball team, of which her father, Jim, is the coach.

"Ashley was one of those people that are always active around school," Hedtke said. "No matter who you were, she touched everyone."

Superintendent Peter Behnke remembered working with Reinke last spring. The state required all districts to establish a policy on student discipline and get student input. Reinke served as the high school representative.

"Our hearts just go out to the family," he said. "She was a bright young lady."

The district postponed the boys' basketball games Friday and this Tuesday. On the team are her cousin and boyfriend.

"Everyone felt very close to her, so it was not hard to postpone the games," Hedtke said. "Because of the emotional atmosphere around the school, it was best if the games were not played."

"The students and staff are not in the right frame of mind to continue with those kind of activities," Behnke said.

To help students and staff cope with the accident and now her death, Behnke said the district crisis team was put into effect soon after the accident occurred Wednesday morning.

"This is very tough, very hard on the entire student body and staff," he said. "Ashley was a popular student and her father and several members of her family are or have been a member of the school family."

Ashley's cousins, J.C. and Ann, are also juniors at Bonduel High School. Her father Jim teaches at the middle school. Her aunt Chris is a special education teacher at the high school.

"She was a real special individual and very dear to me," Chris said. "Her big beautiful eyes and joyous smile will be missed."

The crisis team comprised of school counselors, principals, the school psychologist and the school nurse works to inform and assist the student body and faculty on activities involving the student. For instance, the team helps people know when and where funeral services will be and possibly arrange transportation.

Surrounding districts, including Shawano-Gresham and Menominee Indian, have helped in the matter, Behnke said, by providing counselors.

"Given the severity of the accident, Ashley's involvement in school and her father as a teacher at the middle school, we wanted to make sure we had enough professional help on hand," he said.

According to the Shawano County Sheriff's Department, Reinke and Pamela R. Sondergaard, 44, of Bonduel, were traveling in opposite directions on a narrow stretch of Oakcrest Road near County Road BE in the Town of Hartland, when they collided head on at 8:23 a.m.

Reinke was extracted from her vehicle with the Jaws of Life and taken by helicopter to Theda Clark Regional Medical Center in Neenah.

Sondergaard was first treated at the Shawano Medical Center and then transferred by ambulance to Theda Clark. She was in stable condition Saturday and was to be released last night, according to a nursing supervisor.

The accident remains under investigation.

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By Amy Weaver
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