Oswego State freshman Franccesca Kassandra Torres passed away on March 16, following a car accident in South Fallsburg, N.Y., in which she was a passenger in the back seat.
According to police, there were four other people in the car when it crashed on Route 42. Another passenger, John Rodrigues, was injured in the crash but remained in stable condition.
Torres was a psychology and business major at Oswego State, and a member of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority. The organization, along with the Sigma Tau Chi fraternity, hosted a candlelight vigil on Thursday, March 28 to commemorate Torres.
Torres, known as “Frenchie” among her friends and family, had graduated from Fallsburg Central High School in 2012 and was visiting her home during spring break when the accident occurred.
“Franccesca is one of the ten kids that I have,” said her mother, Francis Garcia. “She was a very happy child. She always had a smile. She was very outspoken, and whatever she wanted she would go and get it.”
Torres’ mother was sick during spring break, and when Franccesca came home she was determined to help her mother.
“She came home and she was happy and she said ‘Mom, I’m going to take care of you,’” said Francis Garcia. “She told me ‘stay in the room, rest, stay in bed, I’m going to take care of you. I’m going to go to Walmart to get the things that you need.’”
Torres completed her list of medicines at Walmart, but on her way back the car she was in hit a patch of ice and crashed, ending her life.
“She was unique. She always put herself in everyone else’s chain of thought,” said her uncle, Jerry Garcia. “If you were intellectual, she would be intellectual with you. If you were hanging out, she would just hang out with you. She would always be adjusting herself to you so you would always be comfortable.”
“She never left anyone out, she always wanted to include everyone,” said her sister, Celia Garcia. “She liked to bring everyone together. She was a good person.”
“Frenchie was one of the best sisters I ever had,” said her brother, Alex Garcia. “She was always there. She always had an opinion on somebody, and most of the time it was a positive opinion. She always tried to help you out with a situation and give you advice on any problem that you had.”
“She was one of those people that are hard to find,” said her sister, Christine Garcia. “She’s a fighter. She never shut up until she won a fight. She was the perfect sister.”
“Frenchie was my best friend,” said Rebecca Rivera, an Oswego State student. “She was just an amazing person. She was always smiling and making others smile around her. Even if she didn’t know you, she would try to help. She was just a beautiful person inside and out. Oswego took a big loss because it was a privilege to [know] someone who was [so] outstanding, caring, and beautiful. I love her and miss her dearly.”
“[Franccesca] was an amazing person,” said her friend Hillary Read, another Oswego State student. “A free spirit, she enjoyed everything in life, always had a smile on her face. Her laugh was the funniest, she used to snort every time she laughed. She was someone that you’d want to have around, and most importantly she was a great great friend.”
“I have known Frenchie since even before she made her decision to come to Oswego,” said Elyzabeth Wengert, Director of the Educational Opportunity Program at Oswego State. “I would describe Frenchie as a very charismatic, positive, encouraging young woman. Her impact on the students has really been profound, particularly given the short period of time that she’s been here.”
Participants in the EOP, as well as some of Torres’s friends, held a small memorial for her on Wednesday night on the lakeside of campus, where they put rose petals in Lake Ontario in her memory.
“Franccesca was a beautiful, outgoing, loving person that always put her friends and family first,” said her friend Edwin Reyes. “She always walked around with a smile on her face and always loved to meet new people. I remember the day I met her, the Summer of 2012 EOP program, she approached our table without knowing us and asked ‘Can I sit with you guys’ with a laugh and smile. From that point on we became best friends.”
“Most people remember Frenchie because she had a beautiful smile, and she was always kind of lighting up a room with her positivity,” said Wengert. “I was exceptionally touched by her family and her community, as they have all organized themselves around Frenchie’s passing. I was very moved by the levels of support and the sense of community. It was very obvious that she had a very dynamic family.”
“We’re going to miss her, and we love her,” said Francis Garcia. “I just wish I could see her one more time.”