Grandfather of car accident victim speaks out - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Grandfather of car accident victim speaks out

RICHLAND, Wash. - 22-year-old Samantha Semmern had dreams of being an interpreter.  She had plans for the Peace Corp in Morocco.

Her grandfather, Don Semmern said, "She cared about everybody.  Never said a harsh word about anyone.  Just pleasant to be around."

Samantha graduated from Western Washington University and studied languages.  Her grandfather said she was a humble and loving young woman.

He said, "It's going to be a real void in my life and everybody's life."

Samantha is a Richland High School graduate.  She had honor roll grades through her entire life. Semmern said, "She always strived for the best. Her goal was always the top."

Her young life was tragically cut short after a car accident at the intersection of Highway 240 and Van Giesen in Richland. 

Troopers said the driver of the other vehicle was intoxicated, but the investigation is still continuing.  Troopers said they do not know what caused the deadly accident, but want to remind drivers about how easily alcohol effects your ability to make decisions behind the wheel.

Washington State Trooper Shane Nelson said, "Your reaction time, your reflexes, your ability to decide whether a traffic light is red or green, turn signals, traffic in front of you is slowing down. There are many factors."

Samantha's grandfather said despite the outcome of the investigation, he feels compassion for the other driver.  "It's got to be a tremendous burden for him for the rest of his life. I have feelings for him and I know my family does too."