Teen hurt in Christmas crash passes away; family holds vigil

Photo: WAVY

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — For a teenager who loved the sunshine, the candles lit outside Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News may have perfectly reflected the life of 19-year-old Brianna Sulc.

Saturday night, Sulc’s family, surrounded by loved ones, gathered outside the hospital they’ve spent every day since Christmas.

“It’s amazing to see how many people loved her. How many people’s lives she’s touched,” said Kristie Askew, Sulc’s mother.

Sulc was seriously injured in a car crash in Gloucester on Christmas Day. Family members confirmed to WRIC sister station, WAVY, that Brianna Sulc passed away Saturday following an organ donation surgery.

Virginia State Police say Sulc’s Honda Civic was hit by a Buick Rendezvous that was being driven by 74-year-old Peggy K. Didlake.

Didlake was driving west on Route 14 when she reportedly ran off the side of the road. She then came back onto the roadway, crossed the center line and hit Brianna’s car head-on.

Friends and family gathered Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, for a candlelight vigil for Brianna Sulc, who was hospitalized following a crash on Christmas Day. Family members confirmed that Sulc passed away Saturday. Credit: WAVY Photo/Kara Dixon
Friends and family gathered Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, for a candlelight vigil for Brianna Sulc, who was hospitalized following a crash on Christmas Day. Family members confirmed that Sulc passed away Saturday. Credit: WAVY Photo/Kara Dixon

On New Year’s Eve, loved ones remembered the young woman they say was a loving and faithful person during the time of her organ donation surgery.

“We were raising a flag in honor of our daughter, giving one last time. She gave the fight of life to other people by donating her organs,” said Edwin Sulc, who is Brianna’s father.

Matt Hoover, who is the campus pastor for Waters Edge Church in Newport News, helped the family put on the vigil.

Hoover said Sulc’s last gift to the world was a reminder of how God always uses people despite their circumstances to assist others in need.

“It’s crazy how God can take some of the darkest dire situations and use it to encourage people, unite people, and bring life to others,” Hoover said.

It’s that light in the darkness Hoover hopes others can reflect on this New Year’s Eve.

“What beautiful message the life we have here doesn’t end when we take our last breath. There’s a thing called legacy and we each have the opportunity to leave a legacy,” he said.

It’s a legacy her family says they’re grateful to share with those around them until they can feel the rays of Sulc’s own sunshine again.

“She is in the arms of our sweet precious Jesus right now. I will see her again one day. We are only separated for a short time and I will get to see my baby again,”  Sulc said.

If you’d like to help Brianna’s family with any monetary support, you can find information here.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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