UM community celebrates life of Ashley Kelly in vigil

In a gathering of communal grief Thursday night, family and friends of freshman Ashley Kelly and members of the UM community assembled for a candlelight vigil on the UC Rock to remember and celebrate her life.

Kelly passed away last Tuesday after she and her roommate, Andrea Cinque, also a freshman, were hit by a car while crossing a U.S. 1 intersection. She was 19.

“She was really smart and intelligent,” said Christina Hajj, freshman and close friend of Kelly. “The thing about her is that she was so driven to get what she wanted, and she had a great mind, and she was going places.”

Marcus Zilman, chair of the chaplain’s association, began the night with remarks about her life and announced counseling for those needing to talk. There was a short prayer and a moment of silence. Zilman then offered the microphone to anybody who wanted to share stories, thoughts and memories of Kelly.

Hajj read a poem about Kelly and the accident, written by Doug Honegan, freshman, who was also good friends with Kelly. She then went on to describe how they became close friends.

“She came over and asked me if I wanted to walk to the C-Store and get ice cream. She and I became friends instantly, and from then on I was the third roommate,” Hajj said. “We were all like a family. Ashley was like our older sister. Andrea and I would goof around and she would try to keep us in line.”

Cinque remembered how fun it was just to be with her, like playing a game of “20 Questions” to get to know each other at the beginning of the year.

People that knew Kelly remember her as a loyal, honest, caring and respectful person who lived her life with no regrets and appreciated every day. Hardworking and ambitious, she was a journalism and political science major with straight As and a bright future ahead of her.

“That’s what’s so sad about this whole thing. Given five more years, she would have changed the world,” Hajj said.

Kelly also loved music-especially Dave Matthews Band. Described by friends as a child of nature, she loved the sunset and had pictures of them hanging all around her room and even painted on her backpack.

The wake and viewing was held on Saturday, and students, family and even some of Kelly’s teachers from Naples High School attended the ceremony to pay their last respects.

“It was a beautiful ceremony,” Hajj said. “It was what Ashley would have wanted.”

The Miami Herald reported on Sunday that Kristin Arbuckle, the driver who hit and killed UM freshman Ashley Kelly and injured freshman Andrea Cinque last week, was given a ticket for running a red light. The Coral Gables Police Department said the investigation on the incident is over; it found that it was an accident.
Running a red light is a non-criminal offense. The ticket means four points against Arbuckle’s license and a $115.50 fine “for a moving violation that results in an accident.”
The Herald also reported that Arbuckle, 24, is the niece of Dean Colson, a member of the UM Board of Trustees.

Teressa Dalpe can be contacted at