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Loved ones remember victim of bike accident

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Nov 03 2013 06:15:00 PM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

Friends and loved ones of a young Chico woman killed in a bike accident Friday night remembered her on Sunday.

20-year-old Janee Nickerson was hit by a vehicle while riding her bike on East First Avenue near Oleander. Not long after, she was declared brain dead.

The driver, 21-year-old Amanda McClintock, was arrested for driving on a suspended license.

Before Sunday service at Evangelical Free Church, where Nickerson was an active member, her boyfriend, Anthony Ruiz, remembered the impact she had.

"She just affected the hundreds of people that she knew," Ruiz said. "Whether it was here or people across the country or people in Guatemala who she served, there's not a single person who couldn't say that she's loved them."

Nickerson frequently traveled to Mexico and Guatemala on mission for the church, helping the people she visited there.

Ruiz said work she did on those trips embodied her spirit.

"That was one thing that she knew how to do better than anyone else that I've ever met, is love," he says.

Nickerson was also active in a group called CRU, or Campus Crusaders for Christ, which works on the Chico State campus to pass along the message of the church.

The leader of that group, Josh Otto, said people will remember her for the love she gave them.

"Janee will be remembered for her influence in a lot of people's lives," Otto says. "She had deep joy and love."

Nickerson's pastor of 14 years, Will Wilson, said she may be gone but will continue to be an inspiration.

"There's a lot of people who have been very stirred by her life, very challenged by her life, and now want to live their lives as Janee lived her life--giving her life to others and loving well," says Wilson.

Nickerson will be donating her organs to people in dire need, an act Wilson says perfectly sums up her spirit.

"Janee always had a thought of other people, seems like she thought of other people more than herself," he says. "I've known her 14 years and that's been the truth, so it doesn't surprise us at all."

Her boyfriend, Ruiz, echoed that statement.

"She's just blessing more people who will never get to know the kind of love that she poured out," he says. "But her story means more and is more powerful than just those organs."

And as friends, family and loved ones work through their grief they continue to feel blessed by Nickerson's short life and take solace in the thought that she's in a better place.   

"We are at this stage certainly grieving," says Wilson. "And if you had been at the hospital Friday night, Saturday or this (Sunday) morning you'll see hundreds of college kids grieving and weeping--and so are families. But it's not without hope, they still have hope."

Ruiz says Nickerson is obviously missed, but in a better place.

"She gets to be happy because she's with God now so she's experiencing all the love and joy that she wanted for all her life," he says.

A candle light vigil for Janee Nickerson is planned for Sunday night at 8 o'clock on the corner of East Sacramento Avenue and the Esplanade.