Amber Pelletier had just completed her junior year at St. Leo University in Florida where she majored in psychology and minored in education. Her future dream was to complete graduate school and counsel children in hospital settings.
However, those dreams were forever erased early Sunday morning on Bennington Street in East Boston.
Pelletier, and her friend from Saint Leo University, Ava Salvi of East Boston were passengers in a car driven by Dylan Ethridge, of East Boston. The accident killed Pelletier and seriously injured Salvi.
Now Ethridge faces vehicular homicide charges and Pelletier’s family, instead of planning for a college graduation next year, are planning the funeral of their loving daughter, granddaughter, niece, and cousin.
According to witnesses, prior to the crash Ethridge was allegedly traveling between 80 and 90 mph on Bennington Street early Sunday morning before he clipped a series of parked cars, fishtailed, hit the median strip and flipped the car over.
The crash killed Pelletier, of Rhode Island, instantly and seriously injured Salvi. Sources who knew the group of friends said Pelletier was in Eastie visiting Salvi for the weekend.
Ethridge, 22, was arraigned Monday in East Boston Municipal Court on charges of motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of personal injury, and leaving the scene of property damage.
Judge Roberto Ronquillo set bail in the amount of $1,000 and ordered Ethridge to wear a GPS monitor and remain alcohol-free.
Prosecutors allege that Ethridge was operating a gray Mazda on Bennington Street at a high rate of speed immediately prior to the crash at approximately 1:10 a.m. Sunday. The vehicle struck several parked vehicles and a cement planter on the roadway center median before coming to a rest on its roof.
One passenger, later identified as Pelletier, suffered fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. According to reports, Salvi was seriously injured but is expected to survive.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Ethridge allegedly left the scene on foot and was nowhere to be found when police arrived. His attorney Peter Marano said his client went to go seek help. However, the prosecution wasn’t buying the excuse and told the court there was no indication he went to go seek help.
Ethridge reportedly went to a friend’s house after the crash and later checked himself into Mass. General Hospital where police finally caught up with him.
Ethridge will return to court on June 14.
On Facebook, Pelletier’s cousin, Erica Hedger, wrote, “My beautiful, smart, kind cousin is no longer here on earth but forever in my heart. I will miss you and love you every day, Amber. I cherish every single memory we had and will forever be grateful for the last three years you were in Florida with us. You made my world a better place. Please visit me in my dreams and let me know you’re alright. Rest In Peace my guardian angel.”
As a young girl and throughout college, Pelletier participated regionally and nationally in cheerleading and dance. She participated in the Patriots Junior Cheerleading program and for many years was with the Dance Theater of Rhode Island in Cumberland. She was a National Grand Champion in dance competition.
According to family she worked hard throughout college and when at home on school breaks, was adored by children at her job with Dr. Daycare in Rhode Island.