Friends Remember Gainesville Woman Who Died After Tractor-Trailer Accident

| May 28, 2014 | 0 Comments | News

Rachel Gradia's most recent Facebook photo

Friends and colleagues remember Rachel E. Gradia, 24, of Gainesville, who passed away May 24 at VCU Medical Center in Richmond from injuries she sustained in a car crash.

Gradia was a student of Global Affairs at George Mason University. While attending school, she also worked as a medical assistant and receptionist at Gateway Chiropractic in Gainesville. She was a graduate of Battlefield High School in Haymarket and formerly attended Northern Virginia Community College.

A Tragic Accident on the Interstate

According to Corinne Geller, Public Relations Director for Virginia State Police, Virginia State Trooper K.W Peterson responded to a two-vehicle crash that occurred in the southbound lanes of I-95 near 42-mile marker in Prince George County, Virginia, 4:40 p.m. Thursday.

“A tractor-trailer was southbound on I-95 in the right lane when it ran off the right side of the interstate and struck a 2007 Hyundai Elantra that was parked on the right shoulder,” Geller reported.

According to police, Gradia, the driver of the parked Elantra, was seated in the passenger side of the vehicle at the time of the crash. She was thrown from the car when it was struck by the tractor-trailer.

“Meanwhile, the tractor-trailer jackknifed in the tree line off the right side of the interstate,” Geller said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Henry W. Vann Jr., 65, of Ahoskie, North Carolina, was not injured in the crash.

“He was wearing his seat belt. Vann was charged with reckless driving,” Geller said.

The crash remains under investigation.

Remembering Rachel

Friends who worked with Rachel described her as a warm, intelligent, funny, competent and good-hearted young woman who was preparing for a bright future.

Krystle Bellomo

Rachel was truly one of the best friends I could have ever asked for. She made everyone feel loved and cared for, and anytime she walked into a room she was smiling. She was a true friend because no matter what she was going through in her own life, she always wanted to know how I was doing and if everything in my life was okay. She was insanely intelligent and carried herself with class and kindness wherever she went. She was a good person in the truest sense of the word. She will be missed by so many people, but I know that she can feel how much everyone loves her.

Dr. Alicia Haupt

I have had the honor and pleasure of working with Rachel for more than three years. I have never met a woman, only 24 years old, with such an amazing presence. She had a great smile, a quirky sense of humor, professionalism, wisdom and sensitivity beyond her years. Rachel made the best funny faces, and could make anyone feel welcome. She was just getting ready to spread her wings and begin a federal internship in August. This girl was going places!  Words cannot express the loss we all feel, she was loved, and will be dearly missed. The world is a bit darker without her bright shining smile.

Cindy Curington

I met Rachel about three and a half years ago when she started working at Gateway Chiropractic. Rachel is a very sweet and caring young woman. I didn’t work with her every day, but when I did, or when I stopped in the office on my days off, you could not miss her big beautiful smile and her friendly hello. She always, always, asked me how my two daughters were doing when I’d see her. That was just part of her caring personality. She was genuinely interested. And even though I didn’t work with her all the time, our conversations flowed so effortlessly and easily as if we saw each other every day.

I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around this tragic event.  How can this happen to someone with so much to live for; someone who has so much to offer the world; someone who makes the world a better place? I keep telling myself that God must have bigger and better plans for her.

I will miss Rachel- miss seeing her big beautiful eyes and contagious smile. RIP, Rachel.

Jasmine Kennedy

I worked with Rachel for almost four years. She was young and vibrant with an incredible sense of humor. She could light up the room and make you laugh by just making a silly face at you. She was a beautiful person, inside and out with so much life left to live. We will miss her dearly.

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