Seventeen-year-old Kelsey Barsic would have started her senior year at Kaneland High School next week, embarking on a certified nurse's assistant program, but instead her life was cut short.

Police said Barsic, of Elburn, was found dead at 6:10 a.m. Tuesday in a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu, which had struck a tree in the 41W300 block of Burlington Road in Campton Hills.

An initial investigation revealed Barsic's car was westbound on Burlington Road when it went off the road on the south side of the street, traveled a significant distance through an open field and struck a tree in a yard, said Campton Hills Police Chief Greg Anderson.

Homeowners awoke Tuesday and saw the car with Barsic still inside, he said. Police were unsure Tuesday afternoon what time Barsic's car crashed into the tree. Anderson said there were no signs of braking or steering maneuvers before the crash. Barsic was coming from a friend's home the night before the crash and was not reported missing that night, Anderson said.

Coroner Charles West said an autopsy Tuesday afternoon could not reveal how Barsic died. Instead, coroners are waiting for toxicology reports to say the cause of death, which could take weeks.

"There was trauma obviously but in order to do an accurate investigation, we need to identify what substances were in her body at the time," he said.

West added that there were "no obvious signs of medical issues" that could have led to her death, but he could not say for sure if Barsic died from the trauma of the crash.

"We know she suffered major trauma from the accident, but we can't say trauma is actually the cause of death until we determine what was in her system," he said.

Anderson said investigators do not know if drugs and alcohol were a factor. He said Barsic wasn't wearing her seatbelt and the car's air bag did not deploy.

Police continue to speak to family and friends to trace Barsic's whereabouts the night before and where she was headed, Anderson said. Investigators also are examining the car, he said.

"We might try to determine the speed," Anderson said, adding that police are looking to see if the car had a "black box."

Police also are asking any witnesses to come forward by calling 630-584-0330.

A family member at the Barsic home in the 400 block of Saratoga Drive declined comment Tuesday. Funeral arrangements were pending.

Barsic was known as "an outgoing, friendly and very likable young lady with a lot of potential," said Diane McFarlin, assistant principal at Kaneland High School. Barsic was involved in the school's health occupations program at the Fox Valley Career Center with plans to become a certified nurse's assistant this school year, McFarlin said.