WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The family and friends of a young woman killed in a crash over the weekend came together on Tuesday to honor her memory.
A vigil for 19-year-old Michaela Lynch was held along Apponaug Cove, and her sisters Karlie Lynch and Halee Peloso were in attendance.
“She was just such a kind-hearted and bright person and had just such a good personality,” Karlie said.
“She was just so outgoing and confident, and we would always say we are so envious of her because we are just not like that,” Halee added.
The Toll Gate Hill School graduate was one of four people in a car driven by 19-year-old Jacob Pelliccio early Sunday morning, according to Warwick police. Investigators say Pelliccio was driving nearly 80 miles per hour before he lost control and crashed into the bridge abutment over the Hunt River.
All that’s left at the scene is a memorial which is growing by the day. Michaela’s family said they’re still in shock about what happened.
“It wasn’t until my mom came and was like banging on the door and was saying, ‘open up the door’ – which she never did – so I knew right away something was wrong,” Halee recalled.
Police said when they arrived at the crash site, Pelliccio smelled of alcohol and marijuana. He and two male passengers were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Pelliccio appeared in court Tuesday on charges including driving under the influence and driving to endanger. He’s due back in court on Jan. 25.
Michaela had just gotten a job on track with her pursuit of becoming a beautician, according to her sisters. They said she worked for years at a nearby nursing home and enjoyed helping people.
“She loved her residents. They loved her,” Halee said.
It’s been a long few days for the family and they know there will be challenges ahead, but they said they’re getting through this thanks to the outpouring of support from people who also loved Michaela.
“We are just trying to focus on Michaela and just focus on celebrating her life right now,” Halee said.
“Everything that everybody is doing, it is just so much more than I could’ve expected,” Karlie said.
The family is also trying to focus on the good times, of which there were many.
“We were actually up really late last night going through old videos and photos and we were in tears. Not sad tears. Happy tears, like crying laughing,” Halee said.
“Different times of the day are harder than others,” she added. “Overall, as a family, we are in it together and we are just trying to remember the good times.”
Calling hours for Michaela will be held on Thursday before her funeral on Friday.