Osceola crash victim remembered at candlelight vigil

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Dozens of Amanda Ezra's family and friends gathered at Beutter Park Friday night to remember the young mother.

Ezra died in a bizarre accident Sunday.

Police say 23-year-old Kyle Papa was driving drunk along Chestnut Street after they left a house party with three other friends.

He jumped the curb in a cul-de-sac as Ezra was vomiting out the passenger side window. As Papa drove between a utility pole and the wire holding it up, police say Ezra hit her head on the wire. She died from multiple blunt force traumas to the head.

Friends say Ezra was a dedicated mother who was trying to build a better life for her family. She recently enrolled in classes at Ivy Tech, hoping to become a teacher.

Those who knew the young mom honored her by writing heartfelt messages on balloons and lanterns and releasing them into the night sky Friday.

The group also lit candles and walked from Beutter Park to Mishawaka High School, the school Ezra proudly graduated from. They hope the walk will help raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.

"You can go out and have fun, but at least make sure you have a designated driver," said Ezra's friend Taylor Esmont. "A fun night can turn so wrong so quickly. It's sad one of our friends had to lose her life when she wasn't even the one driving."

Several benefits are planned to help cover Ezra's funeral expenses.

On Saturday, the Hideout Lounge is hosting an event in her honor. Ezra was a regular there, who loved to sing karaoke.

There will be another benefit at The Blarney Stone July 12. The money raised will be put in a trust fund for Amanda's three children.

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