Dragging Death of Cheerleader No Accident, Mother Says

Proviso West cheerleader struck and killed Saturday night

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Monday, Jun 14, 2010  |  Updated 4:30 PM CDT
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Carmen Harper says her daughter was loyal to her friends, and now her friends need to repay that loyalty by being honest with police.

Carmen Harper says her daughter was loyal to her friends, and now her friends need to repay that loyalty by being honest with police.

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At first it seemed like a tragic accident; a Proviso West cheerleader struck and killed by a car driven by one of her friends. 

But after listening to what she says are dozens of different versions of what happened following an out of control party in Chicago, Carmen Harper is convinced someone tried to hurt her daughter Nakella on purpose.

"Everybody’s saying she tripped and fell," said Carmen Harper.  "But somebody hit her on the side of her face which knocked her out in front of the car."

Witnesses say gang-related fights broke out in the street after adults shut down the large graduation party Saturday night on the 1700 block of North Neva.

It was while Nakella Harper and her friends were trying to leave that police say she was struck by the friend’s car and dragged 30 to 40 feet. But her mother says that car was then rammed from behind in another collision by another car.

"Basically the person that hit my child, knock her under the car and then went and rammed the car is the person who killed my child," she said.

Area 5 detectives have cited the driver of the car that struck Harper for minor offenses, but their investigation into what happened at that party is continuing.

In the mean time, Nakella is being remembered for her big smile and strong personality.

"She was a very outspoken young lady, even in elementary school," says Daphne Brown, a social worker who has known the family since Nakella was nine. "She is going to be missed."

Nakella’s mother said she was also loyal to her friends.  Now Carmen Harper is asking those friends to be honest with police. She is convinced someone isn’t telling the whole story of what happened outside that party.

"If I know my daughter, she wouldn’t leave her friends of she knew they were in trouble," said Harper. "That’s why I can’t understand why they left her when they knew where she was at."

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