KENTWOOD, MICH. - Tara Oskam, on the phone with her roommate, talked about the day and her win in a card game while on the way back late Saturday to her Calvin College apartment.
Being on the phone with Rachael Stapley wasn't anything out of the ordinary, in fact, they spoke quite often -- they've been best friends.
"She often doesn't like to ride in the car by herself, so she talks with me on the phone while she's driving so I can keep her company," Stapley said. "She actually just won a euchre tournament with her boyfriend at her church and was coming back to the apartment."
It was a normal phone call, perhaps with some elation with Oskam being a winner, until an unexpected turn.
"And then all of a sudden there was kind of like a sound of shock and surprise like she'd seen something on the road and she was like, 'Woah Rachael' or 'hold on,' something like that," Stapley said. "And then there was the terrible sound of her car, and it was just this awful screeching sound and then nothing.
"I called her name, over and over and over again with nothing, and I heard sirens and I heard a man's voice and I knew something was wrong."
Oskam, a 21-year-old Calvin College junior, got into a crash at Broadmoor Avenue and 52nd Street. The impact of another vehicle in an attempt to escape the Michigan State Police into hers killed Oskam.
A passenger in the suspect vehicle also died, while the suspect driver was seriously hurt and last was reported in stable condition.
Eventually, Stapley and Oskam's family got to the scene of the crash, where police told them the news.
"It turns out that I was on the phone with her when she died, and it's such a blessing that she didn't die alone -- that she had someone with her that whole time and that she was with someone who loves her very, very much," Stapley said.
Her memory is something Stapley will carry with her forever.
"I love her so much," Stapley said. "She's the best friend I have ever had, and so she'll always be my best friend no matter if she's here or up in heaven, she'll always be my best friend.
"No one can take that away from her."
Oskam's boyfriend, Chad Beisel, told WZZM 13 off camera that she was the most amazing woman and the love the two shared was something he'll cherish forever.
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