LIVERMORE – While away at college, Kristina Chesterman of Livermore was killed by a drunk driver. Nine years after her death, a permanent memorial has just been placed in the neighborhood where she grew up.
Sandra Chesterman is doing everything she can to continue to keep her daughter’s memory alive. She told KPIX 5 how Kristina loved helping people and animals, along with the color pink.
Flipping through old family photos, Sandra said, “She was such a family person. It just reminds me of how important the family was for her.”
One can hear the pride in Sandra’s voice as she talks about her daughter, Kristina.
“These are like genuine smiles. You know she’s really happy and she just loved life,” she said.
As Sandra found out, the only emotion more powerful than love is grief.
At 21-years-old, Kristina was a 2nd year nursing student at Chico State. On September 22, 2013 as she was riding her bike home from the library, she was hit and killed by a drunk driver.
“I don’t want people to remember the day that she died. I want people to remember all the days that she lived,” said Sandra, as she tries to hold back the tears.
That’s where Rose Smith comes in. She and her late husband, Chuck, owned the small ranch behind the Chesterman’s house.
“Kristina came over daily, right after school,” Smith told KPIX 5
When they sold the land to a developer a year and a half ago, they put one requirement in place. The street into the neighborhood had to be named after Kristina.
“She was like a child to me. I want her name to be there. I want it to be forever,” said Smith.
The City of Livermore installed the street sign just last week, Bella Kristina Lane. The sign that’s visible from Kristina’s bedroom window as a permanent memorial to a daughter who was taken too soon and a mother still reeling from an unimaginable loss.
“There’s a hole in my heart and that fills it up a little bit, takes that away a little to know her memory will go on,” says Sandra.
The driver who hit Kristina served seven years in prison for her death. After he got out, he was arrested again on federal drug charges and will be sentenced next month.