2 teens killed in head-on crash were 'practically inseparable friends' - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 9:38 am
2 teens killed in head-on crash were 'practically inseparable friends'

A last-minute Christmas shopping trip to Omaha took a tragic turn when two Conestoga High School students died as a result of a two-car accident Sunday.

Jenna Miner, 14, of Murray, was pronounced dead at the scene on U.S. Highway 75 south of Plattsmouth in Cass County. Her friend Savannah Robertson, 17, of Plattsmouth, died Monday. She had been in extremely critical condition when transported by helicopter to Nebraska Medical Center.

Also injured in the crash were Travis Laporte, 36, of Papillion and his brother, Kevin Laporte, 34, of Bellevue. They were listed in good condition Monday afternoon at the medical center.

On Monday, families and friends of the two girls struggled to make sense of their loss.

Savannah was a senior at Conestoga High School in Murray, where Jenna was a freshman. The two girls became “practically inseparable friends,” said Conestoga Principal David Friedli.

“They were so alike,” Friedli said. “These were two girls who cared about everybody, and that's probably one reason why they hung out together.”

Funeral services for Jenna will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church in Plattsmouth.

Services for Savannah have not been announced.

Friedli said Savannah comes from a military family and moved to the area last spring. Conestoga was the third high school she had attended.

Her father, Phillip Robertson, told Friedli that his daughter was on life support following the accident so that organ donations could be arranged.

“That was typical of Savannah,” Friedli said. “She came in and immediately made an impact at our school in drama, dance and music. She received drama awards this fall for a one-act play.”

Brian Miner said his daughter, Jenna, and Savannah were headed to Omaha for some last-minute Christmas shopping. He also described the girls as “very close” friends.

“Savannah was a great friend of Jenna's and our family,” he said. “This whole thing is just a crying shame.”

Investigators from the Cass County Sheriff's Office said Savannah was driving a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix north on Highway 75 near Rock Bluff Road about 10:30 a.m. when the car crossed the center line and collided head-on with a 1989 Ford Probe driven by Travis Laporte.

Jenna was partially ejected and pronounced dead at the scene.

“From what I know, this was purely an accident,” Brian Miner said. “It's difficult to understand why these things happen. You wonder why this happened to these girls, who are both such sweethearts.”

Miner said he knew he would “sound like a father bragging” but that everyone loved Jenna. She doted, he said, on her 4- and 3-year-old nephews.

“You couldn't have hoped to meet a more pleasant person or better person,” he said. “If I was having a bad day, I could think of Jenna and it just changed everything.”

In addition to her father, Jenna is survived by her mother, Kathy Miner; brothers, Caleb of Omaha and Tanner of Union, Neb.; and sisters, Savannah of Murray, and Jessica Lusch of Bellevue. Her biological mother, Sonja Miner, died in 2002 in a horse-riding accident.

In addition to her father, Savannah Robertson's survivors include her mother, Rebecca Robertson of Weeping Water, Neb.; stepmother, Tracy Robertson; and brother, Phillip.

Contact the writer: Kevin Cole

kevin.cole@owh.com    |   402-444-1272    |  

Kevin Cole covers workings of police, courts and government and writes features about interesting subjects in Omaha and the surrounding counties.

City's Personnel Board is behind ‘ban-the-box’ proposal
World champion Crawford's promoter working to have title defense at CenturyLink Center
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Richard Paul Dreier, 90, was wounded in attack during WWII
Police issue arrest warrant in teen's shooting death
Beau McCoy calls Pete Ricketts a 'convenient conservative' for immigration stance
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Agreement reached to end dog racing at Bluffs Run at end of 2015
Construction to start in May on West Broadway apartment/retail structure
At NU's helm, J.B. Milliken built the university by building relationships with state leaders
Rain expected to end by mid- to late morning
3 Nebraska Board of Education candidates call for high standards
Douglas County Board candidates say they aren't ruled by party
96th Street to have head-to-head traffic
Video: Stothert says Crossroads project is 'full speed ahead,' but she won't support bond issue
Ex-Obama official urges approval of Keystone XL pipeline
Benefit to be held for family of Omaha shooting victim
New Alegent Creighton Clinic to open in Council Bluffs
Grace: Your older self has a request — use sunscreen
Police ID body found near 36th, Seward Streets
Hail, strong winds, heavy rain hit south-central Nebraska
'Fairly old' human skull found in Mills County
Omaha crash victim, 19, had touched many lives
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
The idea that Paul Hogan had studied and then hatched at his mother's table was that older people, rather than moving in with relatives or to an assisted-living center, would much prefer to stay home instead.
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
The 1984 NFL draft was unusual for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and these days it's remembered in the name of a rock band, the 1984 Draft. Tonight, the band is featured on the NFL Network.
Breaking Brad: Nebraska GOP candidates unified against naked squirrels
Some of these Nebraska campaigns are tilting pretty far right. At a recent forum, there was a consensus that we need to ban public dancing and clothe naked squirrels in public parks.
Breaking Brad: Inside the mind of a 99-year-old real estate agent
I saw an article about a 99-year-old real estate agent who's still working. “This house is extra special. It has indoor toilets!”
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »