HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Claire Elizabeth Wenzel, 26, died instantly in a “chain reaction-style crash” involving seven cars on Interstate 95 in Henrico County. Her mother told 8News she wants the life and legacy of her daughter to be remembered.

The crash occurred just before 3 a.m. on Oct. 30 and was located near the Parham Road exit on I-95. Claire was acting as a designated driver before she was forced into a collision with four other vehicles that had crashed in front of her.

(Photos provided by Virginia State Police)

Donna Wenzel, Claire’s mother, said she passed by the wreckage of the crash later that morning without knowing her daughter had been involved.

“I saw a couple of cars and I later realized. I was like, ‘that seemed like Claire’s car.’ I was like, ‘Oh, no, that wouldn’t be her car because I would have gotten a call,'” Wenzel said. 

It wasn’t until later that Wenzel learned her daughter would not be coming home.

“Even all the bad things that had happened to her, she figured it was for a reason, that God had a purpose for everything,” Wenzel said. “She and I talked every day. She was my best friend and she was always like ‘God has that plan for me.’”

Wenzel said her daughter was a joyful person who always went out of her way to make other people feel better. She said her daughter was an inspiration to many and hopes that her story will serve as a warning that might save another life in the future.

“Everybody needs to be very, very careful about how they’re driving, because driving does take away lives and it destroys lives, too,” Wenzel said.

The Virginia State Police Richmond Division Crash Reconstruction Team is continuing to investigate the crash.