HAZEL CREST, Ill. (WLS) -- A women's college basketball player from southwest suburban Hazel Crest was killed along with another student in a car crash in Michigan late Saturday night.
The car Shannise Heady was driving collided head-on with another vehicle near the Ypsilanti campus of Eastern Michigan University, where she was a junior.
Heady's mother said her daughter was a dream child, self-motivated in the classroom and on the basketball court. During her freshman year, the 21-year-old known for lighting up a room with her big smile and personality transferred from Seton Hall in New Jersey because she wanted to be closer to her family in the south suburbs.
With her heart hurting, what puts a smile on Jannise Rife's face is looking at pictures of her daughter smiling.
"She was a very special person, kind-hearted, loving, smart. You couldn't ask for more in a child, you couldn't," Rife said.
The EMU basketball player was killed in a head-on collision just hours after returning back to campus from winning a game in Ohio Saturday night.
"We listened to her game (Saturday) online. We talked, texted, and we were going to see her on Wednesday," said Rife.
Calling themselves die-hard basketball parents, Rife and her husband Lawrence Heady tried to make many of their daughter's home games. They never missed one when she played all four years on the Hill Crest High School varsity team, earning her All Conference, All State and honorable mention All-American honors. She was a player and student former Hill Crest coach John Maniatis will never forget.
"This was an individual that was a pillar of the community," he said. "A person that was a shining star and an individual that put in the time and effort to be the best in the classroom, as well as on the court."
Beside her success on the court and in the classroom, Heady's parents say what makes them so proud was their daughter's sense of community and desire to give back.
"She hosted a basketball camp for the kids at church and they all loved her, she always wanted to touch someone's life, some way, somehow," Riley said.
Heady wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps and pursue a career in health administration. The president of Eastern Michigan University released a statement Sunday calling Heady's death a tragic loss. Her coach said she was a true joy to coach, a player who brought energy and liveliness to the team. Besides her parents, Heady is survived by six siblings.