Friends and family gathered Friday night at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Headquarters in San Diego to remember Melissa Houston, the victim of a fatal car crash that happened on northbound State Route 163.
Houston, an avid runner and mother of two young daughters, died when her minivan crashed into the back of a semi-truck around 11 p.m. Thursday night.
According to the CHP, Houston was driving at approximately 85 mph and not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the deadly collision.
On Friday, about 100 people came together to remember 40-year-old Houston, who was a well-known marathon coach in the running community.
“I'm always going to remember her. She touched my life and she pushed me to do what I thought was impossible, which was to finish,” said one of Houston’s trainees, Lissett Castro.
“She had done everything in the world to make sure her two daughters had a great place and a stable home,” said coach Keri Garnet.
Houston was a coach and mentor for the Team in Training running and triathlon group that raises money for charity.
Her trainees will always remember her spunk.
“I'd be running along, hating life and cursing under my breath and up comes Melissa....`Come on don't let the old woman beat ‘cha! Haha!’ recalled trainee Jessica Burger.
Now, those who knew her mourn a tremendous loss.
“She made a profound impact on my life. And became a very dear friend of mine. She will be missed, but like I told her...Melissa, I'll see you on the other side of the finish line,” said friend and trainee Jenna Hardy.
Friends are raising money for Houston’s children. So far, they’ve raised about $1,000.
Those interested in donating to the fund can learn more by visiting Houston’s Facebook page.