Lakewood High School senior MacKenzie Forrest, 17, a popular student and college-bound basketball player, died March 13 after sustaining injuries in a single vehicle crash on Interstate 70 near Frisco.
“We are sad to share the news of the passing of our precious daughter, MacKenzie,” said the family in a released statement. “MacKenzie was an amazing daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, friend and teammate. She made the most of her time at Lakewood High School, and was excited to be heading to play for Regis University in the fall.”
Forrest was the leading scorer for the school’s basketball team — she was called “Li’l Mac” — and planned to continue playing at Regis.
“Li’l Mac was extremely special to all of us in our program. Her accomplishments on the court speak for themselves,” said coach Chris Poisson in a statement. “However, it was her heart, passion and love that made her special. She will always be in our hearts. I will always love Li’l Mac.”
Forrest’s accomplishments were many: a four-year letter winner, Lakewood’s all-time leading scorer, CHSAA Academic All-State winner, team captain as a junior and senior, All-Conference 1st Team during her sophomore, junior and senior years, Jeffco League MVP sophomore and junior years, a member of the All-State 2nd Team sophomore year and All-State Honorable Mention recipient junior year.
Forrest lost control of a 1997 Toyota 4Runner at about 3:30 a.m., according to the Colorado State Patrol. The accident report indicates that Forrest was traveling eastbound when her vehicle veered off the road to the left, and up an embankment, before turning back towards the road, and rolling. The trooper report indicates Forrest had not been wearing a seat belt, and was ejected. The cause of the accident is still under investigation but alcohol is suspected.
She was taken to St. Anthony’s Central, where she was pronounced dead Sunday evening.
“The doctors here at St. Anthony’s have been trying all day to do all they could for Mackenzie,” the family said. “We are devastated that she is gone. Now MacKenzie’s legacy will instead live on through those who knew her and those who may benefit from her selfless decision to be an organ donor.”
Lakewood High School principal Lisa Ritchey sent out a letter to students and families sharing their grief and providing information on counseling for those in need.
“This will be a hard time for many of us and there will be mental health resources at the school for any student needing additional emotional support,” she wrote. “As information about services and family needs are communicated to us, we will share information with our LHS community according to her family’s wishes.”
Details about memorial services have not been finalized yet, but on Sunday evening students and community members gathered at the high school in Forrest’s honor.
“We appreciate everyone’s kindness throughout this difficult day,” the family said. “Please remember her beautiful smile.”