KUSA — A family in Aurora has a simple and heartbreaking message: They hope their tragedy will never become yours.
Last weekend, 26-year-old Jana Lashay Phillips was hit by a suspected drunk driver, who then left the scene.
Family members say Phillips was just four months shy of graduating from Concord Career Institute, where she was studying to be a dental assistant. She previously worked in school security, family said.
“She was just amazing. She was a good girl,” said Phillips’ mother, April Garcia. “This is a parent’s worst nightmare.”
She was a daughter, a sister, a niece and an aunt. Loved ones called her “Jana Boo.”
“She was a go-getter, When she had her mind set on something she was all over it,” Garcia said.
The alleged drunk driver, 37-year-old Timothy Knutson, is now facing several charges including vehicular homicide, DUI, and leaving the scene of a crash.
Thursday night, friends and family gathered at a vigil to honor Jana’s life and legacy. They held candles, listened to music and shared many hugs and stories.
Garcia hopes her daughter’s story will serve as a reminder to never drive under the influence.
“I just hope someone sees this and says, you know, maybe I’ll call that Uber or won’t make that decision to get behind the wheel,” she said.
“That's what I’m hoping for, that someone's life can be saved and no one has to lose their children, which is the worst pain ever.”