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Amanda was three weeks past her 19th birthday.

She was a hard worker. Between the time she finished high school and started college, she held two or three jobs at a time. At one point she worked two full-time jobs.

Amanda did not go to college until January, so she was a semester behind. To catch up, she took a class during the summer.

The day she died, July 6, 2006, I worked late. She called me as I was leaving and asked what the best route to class was. We talked for just a minute because she needed to finish getting ready and get out the door.

Our paths should have crossed in only 10 minutes, but nothing. I tried to call her cell phone to find out where she was. I was afraid she was driving too fast.

As I came around a curve in the road, I could see her truck sitting sideways in the road. There were a few other vehicles there as well. When I got there, she lay on the side of the road, a man over her. He said she was conscious when he got there, but when I took her hand and talked, she did not respond.

When the fire department arrived, I begged them to call the helicopter. In my mind I knew she was already gone, but my heart would not listen.

At the hospital we found out she had been ejected from her truck. She was dead on arrival.

Amanda was a very strong willed, self-reliant individual. Just days before the accident she told me she did not care how many tickets she got for not wearing her seatbelt; she would pay them all. The deputy sheriff at the scene removed a seatbelt ticket from her truck.

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