BILLINGS — Family members are mourning the loss of Brielle Papavero, a Billings teen who died last week in a head-on collision on Interstate 90 near Belgrade.
Brielle, 18 years old, was driving east along I-90 heading back home to Billings on October 27 when a car was heading right toward her.
The Montana Highway Patrol said 25-year old Madalynn Raab of Bozeman had been driving the wrong way for 12 miles before she crashed head-on into Papavero's vehicle.
Both drivers died; there were no passengers in either vehicle.
Troopers suspect that Raab was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Papavero's family is still trying to cope with the devastating news.
“She shouldn’t be gone right now. She should still be here,” said Megan Crompton, Brielle's mother.
The family wants to raise awareness about the dangers of driving intoxicated and how much it can destroy a family.
“You might be taking somebody's life, you know? Somebody’s daughter, sister, you know, somebody’s love of their life. I mean just think about that the next time you get behind a wheel drunk or on drugs,” said Crompton.
Family members said she was a bright soul, who loved adventuring. Her family says she also loved music, singing and dancing – always asking her father to dance with her.
“I mean everyone has a gaping hole in their heart right now,” her father Brandon Papavero said. “I was so excited to dance at her wedding. That was something that really resonated with me, that I don’t get to dance with her at her wedding.”
Brielle's younger sister Aisley looked up to her big sister. “She was my role model. She was my best friend. Sometimes she was my enemy, but...” Aisley said laughing.
At just 12, Aisely was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Brielle, who the family said was a protector of those she loved, never left her side.
“She dropped everything and she would travel to California with me during treatments and she would sit there and make her laugh,” her mother said.
Family said she touched many hearts in the community and will be missed. “She just was a lot of fun. She’s going to be missed, not just by us,” her father said.
The community is rallying around this heartbroken family to get money off of their minds. 406 Kitchen & Taproom, where Brielle and her mother worked together, is organizing "A Night for Brielle" with a silent auction November 10 from 6-9 p.m., and a family friend organized a GoFundMe page for the family.
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