By Marissa Armas

(CBS4) – A family with Colorado ties is trying to take a step forward after their teen was killed in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 70 on Saturday in western Kansas. 15-year-old Alexie Echo-Hawk and her father Bunky Echo-Hawk were traveling from Denver to Pawnee, Oklahoma, on Oct. 16 when they were hit head-on by another vehicle.

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“She lived in those 15 years a very full life,” said Walter Echo-Hawk, father to Bunky and grandfather to Alexie. “It’s always hard to bury a young one. She was a deep thinker. She loved to play basketball– she was a basketball star. She was a long distance runner.”

Alexie, who lived in Mosca, Colorado, died instantly on scene. Bunky, who is an acclaimed Native artist and poet, is suffering from multiple injuries. Walter said the vehicle the two were in was totaled. The two were traveling to a tribal ceremonial dance at the Pawnee Nation in Oklahoma.

“She veered and tried to get out of the way and took the direct head-on collision. Both going 70 or 80 miles an hour,” Walter told CBS4. “He (Bunky) was spared, he was spared by the creator from this car wreck, which was a miracle that he lived, survived.”

A crash report from the Kansas Highway Patrol shows that the person driving the car that hit Alexie and Bunky was 38-year-old Christina Santana of Pueblo, Colorado. Santana also died on scene.

On Thursday a funeral and wake were held for Alexie in Oklahoma. Walter said the community is really coming together to support his family. And in less than a week, a GoFundMe account set up for them has raised over $150,000.

(credit: CBS)

“The larger community as well came to our aid and uplifted the family as well, through social media,” said Walter. “We just need prayers for Bucky. We want to thank everyone for their heartfelt condolences.”

Right now the Echo-Hawk family is in healing mode, trying to get a little rest from this tragedy, and Walter hopes his granddaughter Alexie is resting peacefully, too.

“We know she’s in a good place,” said Walter. “We know we’re all in God’s hands, and things are going to be OK. We know that Alexie is with our ancestors at this time, she’s made her journey.”

A memorial service will be held for Alexie in Colorado on Nov. 7 at the Sangre de Cristo school in Mosca. To contribute to the memorial fund to help the Echo-Hawk family, visit the GoFundMe page that has been set up.

Marissa Armas