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'Navy family' of 4 killed in crash on I-95 laid to rest

Elise Larson Spennati, her husband Cole Spennati, and their children Gianna and Aila, all of Goose Creek, S.C., were in a truck that was hit by the tractor-trailer/tanker. Their truck was pushed into the rear of an SUV, which hit another vehicle. (Photo credit: Larson family)

Four of the five people killed in a pileup on Interstate 95 near Lumberton last May were members of a Maggie Valley family.

Elise Larson Spennati, her husband Cole Spennati, and their children Gianna and Aila, all of Goose Creek, S.C., were in a truck that was hit by the tractor-trailer/tanker. Their truck was pushed into the rear of an SUV, which hit another vehicle.

Elise was a U.S. Navy veteran, and Cole was active-duty Navy and due to transfer to San Diego this month, where Elise planned to attend San Diego State University and complete her nursing degree.

Elise's family contacted News 13 this week to tell us that the "Navy family" was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on August 11, 2017. The family was interred together, in one casket.

Two flags were presented at the service: one to the Elise's parents, who make their home in Maggie Valley, and the other to Cole Spennati's, who live in Pennsylvania.

The Larson family said they would like to pass along thanks and gratitude for the support of their family and friends "all over the country and abroad."

"Elise was a wonderful and dedicated mother. Her priorities were nurturing her children and having a close-knit family," said her mother, Marla Larson.

She said 4-year-old Aila loved the mountains and loved visiting her grandparents and uncle in Maggie Valley. Larson said Aila also loved to sing songs she learned in daycare.

Gianna, who was 1 and a half years old, was learning to walk and just getting into that inquisitive stage of "What's that?" Larson said.

Elise is survived by her parents, Greg and Marla Larson, and her brother Dayne Larson.

A news release from Highway Patrol said that a preliminary investigation showed that all the vehicles involved in the wreck that took five lives were approaching a work zone on I-95 South.

According to the release, a tractor-trailer/tanker, driven by Michael Elliott Bricker, 68, of Myrtle Beach, was approaching the slowing traffic as he entered the work zone but did not stop, causing a chain-reaction crash.

Bricker was also killed in the crash.

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