PASADENA, Md. (WJZ)—Texting while driving may be to blame for the single-car accident that killed a young college student on Christmas Eve in Anne Arundel County.
Hundreds of mourners braved the frigid cold to pay tribute to the victim who was alone when her car slammed into a tree.
Derek Valcourt spoke with the victim’s family and has more on the candlelight vigil in Pasadena.
Alyssa Bennett would have turned 20 Monday. Instead some 200 of her friends and family mark the occasion with a candlelight vigil after her life was cut short on Christmas Eve when the college student and part-time nanny crashed into a tree on Tick Neck Road in Pasadena.
“It’s really tough,” said her father Gary Bennett.
Gary Bennett and the rest of her family are finding strength in the hundreds of friends telling stories about how much Alyssa meant to them.
“One minute I’m walking around proud as a peacock with my feathers out, and the next minute I’m bawling my eyes out because I miss her,” he said.
“We’re taking it kind of hard but just seeing all the love from everybody all over, from different states too, it’s really amazing,” said Alyssa’s sister Christie Bennett.
Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, but so far they’ve found multiple possibilities.
“It appears there was a litany of possible contributing factors that led to the crash to include driver error, excessive speed, also possibly alcohol and distracted driving,” said Justin Mulcahy, Anne Arundel County police spokesperson.
Alyssa may have been text messaging while driving, which is against the law in Maryland. Her family hopes other teens won’t make the same mistake.
“One life’s been lost because of a text message, man,” said Gary Bennett. “These young kids need to know that it’s not worth it. Pull off the side of the road.”
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to a college fund for her nephew in Alyssa’s honor. The account is at Tower Federal Credit Union.