The news that three children and a couple had been killed in a Fourth of July accident devastated many, but especially those who knew the victims best.
Aleah Lucas' family graciously agreed to share their memories of the 22-year-old woman. A visitation was held Monday night and a funeral will be later this week.
"She was amazing," Kelly Osborn, Aleah's aunt, told KCTV5. "She was sweet. She had a really big heart. She loved anybody and everybody. She was the kindest person you could ever meet in life. She kept the peace with pretty much everybody."
She especially loved the four children of her 32-year-old boyfriend, Jason A. Rittermeyer. The couple had been dating almost seven months.
Rittermeyer's oldest son, 16-year-old Jonas, stayed home as Aleah, Rittermeyer and his three youngest children headed out to buy fireworks ahead of a family celebration.
Rittermeyer lost control of the vehicle, apparently as his tires hit a large rut in the road. As he fought to regain control, his vehicle skidded across a rural road near Archie and was T-boned by another vehicle. Both Rittermeyer and Aleah were killed in the crash along with Noah Rittermeyer, 11; Sage Rittermeyer, 9; and Anna Rittermeyer, 9.
The children adored Aleah, her aunt said. Her niece loved to cook for the children and help them pick out the clothes they would wear, Osborn said.
"They were her life," she said. "She was like their mother. She did everything for them. Everything."
She said she was more mature than the typical 22-year-old, and she just wanted to get married and have a family.
"She was not 22 in her heart. She was definitely a lot older than her age," Osborn said. "She acted like a mother should. She did everything possible."
A tearful Osborn said she will miss her niece's big blue eyes and warm heart the most.
Funeral services for Rittermeyer and his three children will be held Wednesday.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:45:17 GMT
It's not a disease and it's not contagious, but "Invisible Black Dog Syndrome" is a sad, real condition affecting local animal shelters. The term refers to the propensity of would-be-adopters walkingMore >
It's not a disease and it's not contagious, but "Invisible Black Dog Syndrome" is a sad, real condition affecting animal shelters. More >
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:50 AM EDT2014-07-29 09:50:38 GMT
Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.More >
Listeria is listed on the the baby's death certificate as an immediate cause of her death. Her mother, says that while she was pregnant, she ate food that was part of a recent, nation-wide Listeria recall.More >
Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:55:24 GMT
A 24-year-old man has been charged in connection with the June 14 shooting that killed Christopher Mondaine in a parking lot near Sixth Street and Grand Avenue.More >
A 24-year-old man has been charged in connection with the June 14 shooting that killed Christopher Mondaine in a parking lot near Sixth Street and Grand Avenue, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Tuesday.More >
Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:09:00 GMT
KU and Washburn University among five more schools added to the list of colleges and universities under scrutiny for how they handled investigations into sexual assaults.More >
The University of Kansas and Washburn University are joining a list that college officials won't be bragging about. They are among five more schools added to the list of colleges and universities under investigation for how they handled investigations into sexual assaults.More >