GRETNA, Neb. — For months now the Gretna community has been healing from the tragic car crash that shook an entire city. Four young lives lost and one seriously injured. The driver had been drinking and going 90 miles per hour at the time of the crash.
One of the victims was 15-year-old Alex Minardi. The ones closest to her remember her as incredibly sweet and bubbly.
"She's always been such a great friend, always being there for us. She's so caring," Alex's friend Ally Heisler said.
Saturday the community came together for an event.
"We're going to have a balloon release and then my mom has butterflies that we're going to let go," Alex's younger sister Maddie Minardi said.
It would've been a very special day for Alex.
"We're celebrating Alex's birthday. Her Sweet 16," Maddie said.
Her birthday was celebrated with a balloon release right across the street from her high school.
"One of the girls that I coach, she told me that the balloons go up to heaven and I thought that was cute and I like to think of it that way," Heisler said.
The somber event attracted people from all over the community including family members, friends and lone survivor of the crash, Roan Brandon. The crash is still under investigation as investigators search for who provided the teens with alcohol. But today was a break from the unknown, to celebrate a life that was full and bright.
"I always wanted a huge Sweet 16 for her and I guess now we have one," Maddie said.
"She doesn't deserve to be forgotten at all," Heisler added.