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Published: Thursday, 3/15/2012

BGSU sorority sisters plan to honor deceased friends by way they live their lives

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Courtney Brecher, left, a junior from Cleveland, Lucy Sherman, center, a freshman from Vandalia, and Ariel Jones, right, a senior from Sylvania, sign memory boards that are set up in the BGSU student union for people to leave thoughts and condolences for the families of the three sorority girls killed by a wrong-way driver and for the two girls who survived the crash.  
Courtney Brecher, left, a junior from Cleveland, Lucy Sherman, center, a freshman from Vandalia, and Ariel Jones, right, a senior from Sylvania, sign memory boards that are set up in the BGSU student union for people to leave thoughts and condolences for the families of the three sorority girls killed by a wrong-way driver and for the two girls who survived the crash.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

BOWLING GREEN — The young women who shared friendship and sorority ties with three Bowling Green State University students killed in a wrong-way crash March 2 said Thursday that they want to celebrate their friends’ lives in the way they live.

“We’ve been talking a lot about how we want to live our lives as they would have,” said Jessica Lash, a junior from Strongsville and a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority. “It’s going to make us all stronger people because we want to be the women that they would’ve been.”

She and Julie Rego, a junior from Sylvania and president of the chapter, spoke publicly for the first time about the tragic loss they suffered March 2 when a wrong-way driver crashed head-on into a car carrying five of their sorority sisters — girls they described as friendly and funny and beautiful.

About 2:15 a.m. March 2, Winifred “Dawn” Lein, 69, of Perrysburg Township was driving southbound in the northbound lanes of I-75 when she struck a northbound car driven by Christina Goyett, 19, of Bay City, Mich.

The young women were on their way to Detroit Metro Airport to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight to the Dominican Republic for a spring break vacation. Ms. Goyett was killed along with two of her passengers, Rebekah Blakkolb, 20, of Aurora, Ohio, and Sarah Hammond, 21, of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Notes on a memory board for one of the three sorority girls killed by a wrong-way driver. Notes on a memory board for one of the three sorority girls killed by a wrong-way driver.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Two other passengers — Kayla Somoles, 19, of Parma, Ohio, and Angelica Mormile, 19, of Garfield Heights, Ohio — were seriously injured in the crash, although both were released this week from Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

Miss Somoles’ family issued a statement Thursday saying, “Kayla was released from Mercy St. Vincent Hospital in Toledo Monday. She was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Sylvania. She is making amazing progress and her attitude has been positive. She is really looking forward to getting back to BGSU as soon as possible.”

Ms. Somoles’ family released this statement: “For the rest of the students at BGSU, Angelica’s condition is improving each day. She was transferred back to the Cleveland area so she could receive medical care and be closer to home. Please continue to pray for Angelica, so she can return to her BGSU family.”

Both women are expected to recover, university officials said.

Ms. Rego said at first she wanted to know why the horrible crash happened, but she has stopped thinking about it, in part because of what a pastor said at one of her friends’ funerals. He said it’s natural to want to know why but perhaps more beneficial to try to come to terms with what happened.

“I think the question of why left my head,” Ms. Rego said. “There’s no point. It just hurts more to think about it.”

Investigators with the Ohio Highway Patrol said they still do not know why or where Lein entered I-75 going the wrong direction. Autopsy results on Lein and Ms. Goyett, who was driving the girls’ car, are pending.



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