Aspiring Ballerina Killed In Crash On I-240 During Driving Lesson


Thursday, January 16th 2020, 5:53 pm
By: Amber Gerard


A 16-year-old girl was killed in a crash while learning how to drive in south Oklahoma City.

Hope Shaffer was an aspiring ballerina and her dream was cut short in a crash on Wednesday near Interstate 240 and Shields Boulevard.

Shaffer had just graduated from her childhood dance studio and was looking forward to the next chapter.

News 9 stopped by the Take a Bow dance studio in southeast Oklahoma City and spoke to Olivia Spivey, her longtime dance instructor.

"Everyone knows her as the Take a Bow ballerina. Even if you said her name tonight, everyone would call her that,” Spivey said as she described her student of eight years.

Shaffer recently left Take a Bow to go to another studio in Norman.

"She was moving into an adult position and I knew that it was time to let her wings fly," Spivey said.

Shaffer and another student were taking a driving lesson when the accident happened. Shaffer was in the backseat, the instructor was in the passenger seat and the other student was driving.

According to the incident report, they were exiting I-240 onto Shields Boulevard when the driver made a complete stop at the yield sign. A pickup traveling behind them thought they were going to continue onto the service road. The pickup hit the back of the car Shaffer was in.

Both the driver and student suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but Shaffer didn’t make it.

Spivey knew that the world had lost something special. When Spivey opened Take a Bow dance studio, Shaffer was one of her first students. 

"She just came into a room like she just was made to be a ballerina,” Spivey said.

Before she died, Shaffer performed in the Nutcracker in December. She had also achieved something she had been waiting so long for.

"She got her pointe shoes. That’s what she wanted ever since she was a little girl,” said Spivey with tears in her eyes. "I know that she was proud of herself. And I know that she ended her life fully. That’s what I wanted for her."

Before Shaffer left Take a Bow, she made a scrapbook for Spivey and in it was a handwritten letter.

In it, she wrote, "You taught me that dance is fun and freeing. You taught me that dance is away to escape, to express my feelings and be myself. Though I have to graduate from Take A Bow. I will always be part of the family. This is not goodbye, and it's definitely not the last time you will see me."

Click here for a link to Shaffer's GoFundMe account.