Even in death, Raquel Middleton is finding a way to help others.
The Kennewick woman was hit by car Saturday as she walked with her boyfriend to catch a bus to the Benton-Franklin Fair & Rodeo.
A 16-year-old girl in a small sedan slammed into the couple near a roundabout at West Gage Boulevard and North Center Parkway.
Middleton, 26, died from her injuries, officials said. Her boyfriend, Ty Cornwell, suffered a deep cut to his arm.
Officials at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland worked Monday to find matches for her organs, which her family said she wanted to donate.
Giving was apparently one of the things Middleton did best.
“She was the one person that was always here for everyone,” said Tarah Teagle, her older sister. “She would literally give the shirt off her back for you.”
When it came time for Middleton, called “Raquie” by her friends, to get a new driver’s license, she didn’t have to think too hard about whether to be an organ donor.
Teagle said it gives her comfort knowing her sister can still help people even though she is gone.
“That just goes to show you the heart of Raquie,” she said.
The crash happened shortly before 5 p.m. Police said the teen was driving the wrong way on Gage Boulevard when she hit the couple.
The car traveled into the roundabout and hit a rock pillar.
Middleton’s family was told by some that the teen may have experienced a medical episode before the crash, they said. The teen was conscious when first responders arrived and was treated at Kadlec for nonlife-threatening injuries.
Police could not confirm that Monday but said they are still investigating.
“We feel so bad for (the driver),” Teagle said. “I can’t imagine just knowing that she has taken somebody’s life. There are no hard feelings toward her whatsoever. I know Raquie wouldn’t (have any) either.”
Teagle, 28, remembered her sister as a fun-loving, generous woman who loved to be outdoors and ride four-wheelers in the mud. Middleton moved to the Tri-Cities in about the sixth-grade and attended Highlands Middle School before graduating from Southridge High School. She went on to study nursing at Columbia Basin College and worked with disabled Tri-Citians.
“We are all pretty shattered,” she said. “She was my best friend.”
Middleton had hit some tough times as of late, but was hoping to get her life on track and possibly move to Eugene, Teagle said. A few days before the crash, the sisters hatched a plan.
“She was desperate for a new start,” Teagle said. “She told me as soon as everything settled down, we would move to the (Oregon) coast and have a new start. That’s what we were going to do.”
-- Tyler Richardson: 509-582-1556; email@example.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson