With candles, flowers and photographs, tearful San Diego State University students gathered Wednesday night to mourn a beloved classmate killed while trying to cross a freeway last month.
A group of SDSU students gathered at the Campanile walkway to remember fellow Aztec Jasmine Madarang, 20, described by friends as a young woman with a “heart of gold.”
Speaking to the crowd at the vigil, one friend remembered Madarang’s ability to connect with people and make one feel as though she’d known you for years.
“That’s just how Jasmine was,” the friend added, as students – many of them crying, nodded. “She was that girl you saw in the street and instantly wanted to be friends with.”
The college student’s friends talked about how her death – so sudden and tragic – “doesn’t feel real.”
Madarang – a junior at SDSU majoring in engineering and a member of the university’s Delta Zeta sorority – was killed on Sept. 16 while crossing Interstate 8 at Waring Road. An oncoming car struck the woman; her body was found in the middle of eastbound I-8 near Mission Gorge Road that night.
Hours before her death, Madarang had been tailgating in Mission Valley for the football game between SDSU and Stanford University. Between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., she had been exchanging text messages with friends.
She was considered a missing person for several hours before the San Diego County Medical Examiner identified her as the person involved in the fatal accident on I-8.
Authorities have not determined why Madarang walked onto the westbound lanes of I-8 from the north shoulder and tried to cross to the south side of the freeway.
“Whenever you hear a story like this, it’s a real, true tragedy. The most we can do is to reflect on all the good moments that we can just hold on to,” one student at the vigil told NBC 7.
Madarang’s funeral was held on Sept. 23 in Laguna Hills, California. She was buried at the Ascension Cemetery in Lake Forest, California.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help her family. As of Thursday afternoon, the page was $29 short of reaching its fundraising goal of $15,000.