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Community raises money for family of woman killed in Waynesboro crash

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 4:35 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - A GoFundMe page for a Waynesboro woman killed in a crash Monday, Oct. 4 has exceeded its goal.

Christina Royston collided with a motorcyclist on East Main St. in Waynesboro and was then struck by a drunk driver. Royston leaves behind a husband and four children.

Her best friend, Loni Blankenbaker, says she wanted to help, so she set up a GoFundMe page for the family. Blankenbaker says she and Royston met in 7th grade.

“We called each other soul sisters because our souls intertwined when we first met,” Blankenbaker said.

The two talked every day, Blankenbaker said.

“We text each other daily. Every single day we told each other we loved each other,” she said.

Blankenbaker says when she got a call from Royston’s husband Monday night, and she knew something was going on. She says he didn’t call her often.

“He calls and tells me, ‘I need you to come and watch the girls. Christina was in an accident, and she might not make it,’” Blankenbaker said.

She says she packed up her kids, and they headed straight there. When she got there, she says a police officer asked her to pull over and turn her hazard lights on, and he gave her the news she’d feared.

“[The officer] goes, ‘I just wanted to inform you. They just notified us, and she didn’t make it,’” she said.

When everyone found out, it was terrible, Blankenbaker said.

“The kids are in the house just screaming, and it was just awful,” she said.

Blakenbaker has stepped in to help where she can.

“Whether it was food or just helping taking the girls to doctors’ appointments, whatever they needed, I’ve stepped up. I mean, all the girls know me as their Aunt Loni. I’m also their godparent. The girls mean everything to me, just like they meant everything to Christina,” she said.

The GoFundMe, which has raised over $8,000, is going to pay for bills like rent, along with food and gas.

“Plus, the van that was in the accident, the van that the motorcyclist hit, it’s a brand new vehicle and they still have payments on that,” Blankenbaker said.

She says the outpouring of support from the community has been nice for the family to see.

“As her best friend and from the rest of her family, it means everything to all of us that we have the support knowing that these girls are going to be taken care of even after she’s gone,” she said.

Royston’s smile is the thing Blankenbaker says she’ll miss the most.

“Missing that now is probably the hardest thing. I can only imagine how Jake and the girls feel,” she said.

She says more than anything, Christina was kind, and that’s what she wants people to remember.

“She saw no fault in anyone. She’s been through a lot herself, and through everything she’s been through, she helped other people,” Blankenbaker said.

To donate to the cause, click here.

Waynesboro officials say the driver who hit Christina, Frederick J. Palka, has been charged with a DUI and manslaughter.

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