By Kayla Tucker – Managing Editor
Grand Rapids Community College student and former Collegiate reporter Alexandria Rogers died Oct. 26 after a fatal collision in Caledonia. She was 20.
Rogers’ mother, Karen Rogers, said her daughter was on her way to work Sunday afternoon when the accident occurred.
Police said Rogers was driving a 2006 Chevy Impala northbound and pulled past a stop sign. She was then struck by a westbound 2000 Dodge Caravan containing five people, including a 2-year-old girl who suffered minor injuries. Rogers was not wearing her seat belt, police said.
Rogers, of Caledonia, was treated on the scene with life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Spectrum Hospital Butterworth Campus via Aero Med helicopter. She died at the hospital the next day.
Karen Rogers remembers her daughter as spontaneous and always up for an adventure.
“She was very faithful, respectful in her relationships with family and friends,” Karen Rogers said. “She always spoke very highly of people no matter where they came from. … Being her mom, it was just amazing.”
Rogers was a 2013 graduate of Caledonia High School. She was a cheerleader and enjoyed volleyball and longboarding. Rogers held two jobs, one at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel and another at BCBG Clothing at Macy’s.
“She loved high fashion, but she also loved her sweatpants,” Karen said. “She was a great girl. She is very missed.”
Rogers was planning to transfer to Grand Valley State University next fall, to study law.
GRCC student Tucker Jenerou said he’d been friends with Rogers for three years.
“We’d get coffee every Monday or Wednesday,” Jenerou said. “She’d always tell me how great her weekend was, what she did with Ben or her mother. She was always just so uplifting.”
When Jenerou started attending GRCC this fall, him and Rogers became a lot closer.
“She was always just that person that gave me great advice when I was lost,” Jenerou said.
Ben Grace, 26, had been dating Rogers for the past nine months.
“She was amazing,” Grace said. “She made me a better person.”
Grace said he and Rogers were like best friends. They often went longboarding and paddleboarding together.
“We did everything together,” Grace said. “We’d always fight over who got to play the music, knowing that she was going to be the one playing it.”
Grace and Rogers commonly brought a camera when they went longboarding together.
“I bought a GoPro, so we were really into taking videos,” Grace said. “(She) was always the one who wanted to take the camera and be the one filming.”
Grace remembered a time the pair had ventured to a hill to longboard down and Rogers fell hard on the concrete.
“I had no idea what to do,” Grace said. “It was the third time I was hanging out with her. I just ran down there and I looked at her. I wasn’t sure if she was going to be crying hysterically, but no, she kind of dusted herself off real quick and looked down at the ground for her sunglasses and a hat. She wasn’t crying. I just gave her a high five. I was like, ‘That was awesome.’”
Rogers is survived by her younger sister Jade, who is 11.
“She was the best sister in the world for her little sister,” Grace said, who joined Rogers in playing in a parent-kid soccer game with Jade.
“Between the two of us, we scored a bunch of goals,” Grace said. “We had this (over the top) handshake we always did.”
Grace said he was planning to teach Rogers how to snowboard this year.
“Alex was a beautiful girl, she was the perfect girl,” Grace said. “I couldn’t draw or describe somebody that was more of what I was looking for than she was.”
According to Karen Rogers, the celebration event will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 1 in the ballroom at the DoubleTree Hilton, 4747 28th St.
The family wants the event to be a celebration of her life. In place of flowers, the family is setting up an education fund for Jade, Rogers’ younger sister. There will be a donation box at the event, a GoFundMe website available soon, and other donations may be mailed to 4777 4th St. Caledonia, MI 49316.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 9:12 am Oct. 29, 2015.