When Martina Wieblitz Halse's frantic calls to her daughter went unanswered Saturday, she began to fear the worst.
News had already spread of a horrific stretch limo crash with multiple casualties and she knew her daughter had taken a limo that day for a friend's 30th birthday excursion.
She'd soon learn her 26-year old daughter, Amanda Halse, had perished in the crash, cutting short a life filled with potential.
"It's terrible. I lost my baby," she told People Magazine. "There is nothing, nothing worse than this."
Amanda was one of 20 victims to lose their life Saturday when a limousine crashed into a parked SUV after missing a stop sign, killing the limo driver, all 17 passengers in the limo and two bystanders who were standing nearby. Although an investigation into what may have caused the crash is ongoing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the limo driver didn't have a proper license at the time and the limo involved had previously failed an inspection, according to New York Daily News.
Those who died in the crash included four sisters who had been described as "Four Musketeers." Some of the victims were newlyweds, others were parents and some were embarking on a life full of potential. The victim's families are now just left with their memories.
For Martina, who is paralyzed, she remembers the help her daughter often provided in her garden. The two also shared a love of arts and crafts, according to the magazine.
"She was way too young [to die]," she told People.
Amanda's sister, Karina Halse, told Good Morning America all three women had gone out together the Saturday before the fatal crash.
"We had a really nice day out together," she told the morning show Monday. "That was the last time I saw her."
On the Saturday of her death, Karina said the two sisters had been texting one another. After she learned of a limo crash, she and her mother repeatedly tried to contact Amanda but were unsuccessful.
Martina said she isn't sure what injuries her daughter had in the crash.
"They told me that they took her out of the limousine and put her in an ambulance to go to the hospital and she still had a heart beat," she told People.
But Amanda wouldn't survive and now the family is left struggling with the loss.
"I feel a sense of strength when I talk about my sister so I believe she is helping me through this, but overall, I feel empty, devastated and just sad," Karina told People.
She described her sister as a charismatic person who always wanted to make others happy.
"My sister was the most beautiful soul that I've ever been so grateful to know in my life," she told GMA. "She was creative from the day that she was born. She was an artist."
Amanda had been joined on the trip by her boyfriend, Patrick Cushing, 31, who also died in the crash.
Cushing is remembered by his family as a talented athlete who played dodgeball for Team USA and was a compassionate friend and family member.
"Patrick was such a passionate and good-hearted person. He had such empathy and kindness," his brother, Justin Cushing, told People.
Cushing, who worked for the technology group of the New York Senate, was also remembered by Senate majority leader John F. Flanagan, who described him as a wonderful employee who was well-loved.
"He will be greatly missed by his Senate family," Flanagan wrote in a statement according to The New York Times.
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