OSCEOLA, Ind.--- Police say the man behind the wheel during a crash that killed a 24-year-old woman in Osceola appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.
The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's office filed formal charges against 23-year-old Kyle Papa in the death of Amanda Ezra Monday.
Police say Papa drove Ezra's van after they left a party on Chestnut Street in Osceola early Sunday morning. Three other people were in the car at the time.
Papa went over the curb of a cul-de-sac while police say Ezra was vomiting out of the passenger side window. He drove in between a utility pole and the wire holding it up, causing Ezra to hit her head on the wire and then on the van.
The St. Joseph County Coroner says Ezra died of multiple blunt force trauma to the head.
"It's just really sad," Ezra's friend Taylor Esmont said through tears. "Once I heard about it yesterday, I didn't think it was real. I don't know how this could have happened to someone just like her."
Police say Papa initially fled the scene of the crash, but was taken in for questioning later that morning.
He initially denied driving the van, but told police he had consumed "several beers and shots of whiskey" while at the home on Chestnut.
After noticing Papa's bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, officers administered a Portable Breath Test. Charging documents say he blew twice the legal limit at .163.
Papa faces multiple charges:
1. Leaving the scene of an accident after operating while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury - Class B felony
2. Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, resulting in death of another person - Class C felony
3. Possession of marijuana - Class A misdemeanor
4. Operator never licensed - Class C misdemeanor
5. Possession of marijuana with a prior conviction for possession of marijuana - Class D felony
Bond has been set at $50,000. As of Monday evening, Papa remained in the custody of the St. Joseph County Jail.
Friends say Ezra was a mother of three who was working toward a better life. She was taking classes to become a teacher at Ivy Tech.
"She was an amazing mom," Esmont said. "She would always take care of her kids. And, that was one of the first things she talked about when I met her. She would always talk about her babies and how they were just the light of her life."
Now, friends and family are left heartbroken by the unexpected loss.
"I lost a friend and she made a choice to have some fun, get away from the kids," said Ezra's longtime friend Aneea Adkins. "And, it turned out tragically. And, that's not ever a good thing. That's not something somebody wants to wake up and hear."