West Memphis teen had just gotten car weeks before fatal 18-wheeler crash

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — An outgoing high school senior who played on the girls basketball team, Jatava Murray had lofty plans for her life.

"She wanted to go to the NBA," said her brother David Murray.

But in the short-term, her brother said she was focused on getting her own car. It's a wish her brother finally granted only a few weeks ago following her 18th birthday when he gave her a 2005 Pontiac.

"She had been saving up to get her car. That's all she wanted to do was get a car, you know, she was excited about life," Murray said.

Sadly, the car Jatava loved became the car she died in Wednesday night. Jatava's Pontiac was hit while she was trying to turn in front of an 18-wheeler on Rainer Road near Village Drive.

Her brother said he had cautioned her about the perils of driving only the night before.

"I was telling her about being safe and, you know, looking and paying attention," he said.

Friday night, her classmates at the Academies of West Memphis paid tribute to Jatava by wearing purple bows to the game against Benton High School.

"She really impacted our lives," said one student.

For Jatava's family, the outpouring of support they've received has meant more than words.

"It really touched me 'cause I didn't know that my little sister was this well known like that, I mean, it's been so much support from the whole community. I just, I can't believe it," Murray said.

A vigil will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. at the site of the crash.

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