Oshkosh girl remembered with balloon release

OSHKOSH – Friday night friends and family remembered an Oshkosh girl killed in a car crash.

12-year-old Reighlee Stevenson died when an SUV rolled over in Marathon County last week. 10 children were in the car, all under 18-years-old.

A 12-year-old Wausau girl also died.

Police say a 16-year-old girl was driving the SUV without a license when it crashed. She is now facing charges in juvenile court.

But Friday those who love Reighlee Stevenson chose to honor her life with a balloon release.

As hundreds of blue balloons filled the sky over Menominee Park, friends and family filled the air with memories of Reighlee.

“She was so full of life and happy, most of the time. Just your typical pre-teen, all about her friends and a big heart,” said Reighlee’s mother, Kristi Colley.

“Really cheerful, talkative. Likes to make everyone happy,” said Reighlee’s friend, Caprice Swanks.

“She was an amazing little bubbly spirit. When she walked in a room you could hear that laugh,” said family friend Shalaun Lyons.

Reighlee’s mother Kristi Colley says the idea to do a balloon release came from Reighlee’s sister. Blue balloons, Reighlee’s favorite color.

“When we came back from Wausau on Friday her little sister said she wanted to let a balloon off for Reighlee,” explained Colley.

Colley told FOX 11 Reighlee was with family friends when the car crashed in the Wausau area. She said she doesn’t feel angry though.

“I hope they walk away with something positive from it,” said Colley.

Colley told us she hopes a lesson is learned from the tragedy.

“If you know your parents are gonna say no, go with that. Listen to your gut, listen to your head,” she said.

Colley told us this memorial is more about Reighlee’s life than her death.

Hundreds of friends and family stepped up to make the day special.

“She was my best friend and I feel like she supported me through everything and now I need to support her,” said Reighlee’s friend Montana Phillips.

“She had the biggest heart of gold. She would do it for anybody else,” said Lyons.

Many had messages for Reighlee.

“I love her and miss her,” said Phillips.

“I love you and we’re gonna be best friends no matter what,” said Swanks.

“I love her and I miss her and this is all for her. I hope she likes it,” said Colley, words of love lifted up like balloons in the wind.

Colley told us it’s comforting to know that in a way her daughter will live on in others, because she was an organ donor.

Reighlee Stevenson’s funeral will be Saturday.

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