WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) - A 19-year-old Grand Valley State student was killed Friday after she was hit by a vehicle while she was crossing 3 Mile Road. Friends tell 24 Hour News 8 they are "grief stricken" at the tragic accident.
Authorities were dispatched to 3 Mile Road NW and Nolan Ave around 7:10 p.m. Friday. 3 Mile Road was blocked off between Kinney Ave and Wilson Ave for several hours for the accident investigation.
Police tell 24 Hour News 8 that the victim, 19-year-old Jessie Winterholler of Trenton, was in the car with two other friends.
A person who was involved in the incident tells 24 Hour News 8 the driver and another person in the car were arguing. The driver then pulled over to a subdivision, and that person and the other passenger continued arguing outside of the car. After a while, the driver got back in the car and the other person walked away to "cool off."
24 Hour News 8 was told Winterholler stayed in the car with the driver to talk for a few minutes. After the conversation, Winterholler went to speak with her other friend who had left the vehicle.
As Winterholler was crossing the street, police say she was struck and killed by a car going westbound on 3 Mile Road.
Winterholler's sudden death really affected people not just at Grand valley State University, but many of her devoted blog followers, from as far away as Hungary and France, reached out when they heard about what happened.
"I can't believe this is happening right now," wrote one online friend. "I'm seriously really sad right now," another commented.
That didn't surprise one of her friends at Grand valley State University, who described herself to 24 Hour News 8 as a "close friend and fellow blogger at GVSU."
"Even people who knew her online she managed to reach through the Internet and touch them too," the friend told 24 Hour News 8. She went on to say that Winterholler had upwards of 5,000 online followers.
She described Winterholler as a devoted friend who loved the French language and Japenese "anime" cartoons. "She was a passionate, outgoing person," the friend went on to tell 24 hour News 8. "She had a way of making everyone feel loved and welcomed."
Winterholler was described as someone incredibly talented and artistic, who was just a great friend and amazing person.
The 49-year-old driver from Holland who hit Winterholler told police that she didn't see the victim crossing the road. According to police, alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors. The crash remains under investigation.
A friend told 24 Hour News 8 Winterholler was close with her family, "I can't imagine their grief." 24 hour News 8 was told funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized, but services are expected to be held in Winterholler's hometown of Trenton.
Eric Klingensmith, the coordinator of crisis services at Grand Valley State University, told 24 Hour News 8 they have been working with police and the victim's loved ones since the accident occurred.
"We kind of reach out automatically to friends," said Klingensmith. He said the university handles each incident on a case by case basis, and above all, tries to respect the wishes of the family.
"Depending on the individual and the situation we want to do what we can to support them in their own way," said Klingensmith.
Klingensmith told 24 Hour News 8 there are resources available for students who need help dealing with the crisis.
Students can call 616-331-3266, or go to the counseling website at www.gvsu.edu/counsel .
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