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Sarah Elizabeth Ward was known for helping others, a friend said.
Courtesy of Andrea Brunais
Sarah Elizabeth Ward
Monday, April 29, 2013
Police are continuing to investigate a single-vehicle crash early Friday morning that killed a Blacksburg woman.
Sarah Elizabeth Ward, 24, a Blacksburg resident originally from Norfolk, crashed in the 2100 block of Harding Road in Montgomery County just before 2 a.m., county sheriff’s office Capt. Brian Wright wrote in an email Monday.
Ward was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, Wright wrote.
According to the email, the Blue Ridge Regional Crash Reconstruction Team is still investigating the cause of the wreck. No other information about the crash was immediately available.
Ward crashed not far from her home in the Windsor Hills apartment complex, said Ashleigh Kinch, a friend of Ward’s who lives in the same complex.
“We think she was on her way home and missed her turn,” Kinch said.
Kinch said she and Ward met in 2010 as volunteers at the RAFT crisis hotline run by New River Valley Community Services.
Both were students at the time — Kinch said she was an undergraduate at Virginia Tech and that Ward was working on a master’s degree from Radford University.
Kinch said their friendship began during conversations between crisis calls, and grew stronger after both went to work for New River Valley Community Services. They developed a large group of friends that often met in downtown Blacksburg at Sharkey’s restaurant.
Ward’s photo can be found on a collage of regular customers printed on the Sharkey’s menu.
“She was well-loved there,” Kinch said.
Ward was also a passionate practitioner of hot yoga, and an avid reader who loved to learn new things. She was devoted to her Boston terrier mix, Lilly.
Kinch said Ward “cared a lot about people — everyone else before herself.”
The two women were part of a group of friends who call themselves the “Pretty Positive People.” The name fit Ward well.
“There was a time last summer, it was during the big storm, Sarah and I had lost our electricity,” Kinch said. “It was in Sarah’s nature to make the best out of things. So she said, ‘Let’s just go out. Let’s not sit in the dark in our hundred-degree apartments and feel sorry for ourselves.’”
So they decided to go downtown together, b ut first they had to get ready. So they booted up a computer on battery power and used a webcam to put on their make-up, Kinch said.
Andrea Brunais, another friend , said Ward loved helping others.
Whenever a friend of Ward met an unexpected death, Ward and her friends would sit together and listen to Monk and Neagle’s “Dancing with the Angels,” Brunais wrote in an email to The Roanoke Times.
Last week, it was Ward’s friends posting “Dancing with the Angels” on Facebook hours after the crash that took her life, Brunais wrote.
Ward was a sponsor in Al-Anon, a group that offers support and encouragement to families and friends of alcoholics, according to Brunais.
Even though she was younger than many in the group, Ward was able to convey to others the peace, serenity and enlightenment she had gained through self-examination and spiritual growth, Brunais wrote. Ward also reached out to encourage young people in Christiansburg through the Alateen group there.
Brunais said Ward earned an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and her master’s from Radford University.
A memorial service is planned for Wednesday in Norfolk, Kinch said.
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