A Kentucky teen who was set to start her freshman year in high school this fall instead met a tragic fate this week while hanging out with a friend. Michelle Chalk, 15, was lounging in a hammock positioned between two trees in a friend's Fort Thomas backyard Tuesday when one of the trees collapsed and crushed her shortly after 6pm, WCPO reports. Campbell County police say Michelle was dead by the time first responders got to the scene, notes FOX 19; the other juvenile wasn't harmed. Per WLWT, why the tree fell hasn't yet been determined, though it was described as being an older tree. Police are deeming her death accidental.
A community is now in mourning for Michelle, who started dancing at the age of 3 and had performed in the Cincinnati Ballet's Nutcracker performance since 2013, including as one of the lead soldiers in last year's staging. "She loved being on stage and clearly the stage loved her," says the owner of the dance studio where Michelle trained. Meanwhile, the doors of Highlands High School were opened in the early morning on Wednesday so students, friends, and their families could grieve together. (An Iowa teen died in a freak hammock accident last year.)