“She really lived fearlessly,” said her sister Hailey Sudbrink, 20. “She didn’t care what other people thought, and she thought it was crazy that I cared.”
On Monday, Shelby’s family and friends gathered to remember the Atascadero girl who always had a smile on her face. Shelby, 17, was killed Friday morning when her car crashed into a tree on a winding back road surrounded by horse pastures. She was on her way to pick up a friend to go to the beach.
“She really enjoyed life,” said her mother, Emily Sudbrink, as she sat on the couch in her home surrounded by her three other children and husband. “She was hoping to go to (UC) Santa Cruz next year and become a doctor, either a pediatrician or an anesthesiologist. Or a pediatric anesthesiologist.”
Family members each jumped in with more memories of Shelby. She loved anything made out of potatoes, they said. And homemade Belgian waffles. She was a bright child — she started kindergarten at age 4, and her teachers wanted her to skip ahead to first grade. She had been a vegetarian since she was 3 years old, after asking her mother where chicken nuggets came from.
“She got tears in her eyes and she said, ‘That’s the meanest thing I’ve ever heard,’ ” Emily said. “ ‘I’m never eating meat again.’ And she didn’t.”
Her younger brother, Colby, 12, remembered that she would always make him do things for her. If he was upstairs and she was downstairs near the kitchen, she’d call for Colby and ask him to bring her a glass of water from the kitchen. Shelby’s little sister Kiley, 7, said Shelby taught her the dance to “Juju on that Beat,” a rap song.
Kiley, who plays basketball like Shelby, said her sister told her last year to dab after she made a basket at her first game, mimicking a popular move where a person leans their head into their arm like they’re sneezing.
Sure enough, when Kiley made a basket, she looked for Shelby in the crowd and dabbed.
Shelby was either always on an adventure or lying in bed watching Netflix, her family said. Shelby liked watching “The Originals,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “One Tree Hill.”
“She took the car a few days ago to pick up her friends so they could go watch the sunrise,” her mom said, who added Shelby would sometimes spontaneously tell her she was going on a day trip to Santa Cruz or Big Sur.
“She was so full of life and a pure soul,” added her father, Michael Sudbrink.
The high school senior was more comfortable in jeans and flip-flops than a dress and heels, her family said. When she won homecoming princess her junior year, she didn’t want to dress up. “She said, ‘Dad, they’re saying I can’t wear jeans,’