Long Valley resident Josephine "Josie" Irwin has been who always made those around her smile.
Irwin died on Saturday, Oct. 30 in a in Mansfield Township along with Sammie Reisberg, an 18-year old male from Hackettstown. Two other passengers in the car were injured and treated at Morristown Memorial Hospital.
It was reported Tuesday by DailyRecord.com that Mansfield police say the two surviving members of the crash fled before being found and taken to the hospital. Patch could not directly confirm that account Tuesday.
Irwin, a senior at West Morris Central High School, who was recently accepted to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, was "just about to turn the corner," said Richard Lynch, a spokesperson for the Irwin family.
Lynch, who has been dating Josie's mother Stefanie and living with the family for more than two and-a-half years, reflected on his time with Josie and watching her mature during her adolescence.
"She didn't follow the path others followed," Lynch said. "She wasn't about impressing people. She was an individual and did her own thing."
Josie Irwin loved animals, especially her dog Vin who slept in her room every night, Lynch said. She was an avid runner and enjoyed going to the gym frequently.
"I think she was about to take off," Lynch said about Irwin becoming an adult. "She was blossoming every day and was really figuring (it) out. I wish everybody got to know her."
Irwin–the youngest of three children–looked up to her sister Rebecca, a 20-year old college student in Illinois. "(Rebecca) is upset and angry," Lynch said. "She's lost her ski buddy. She's lost her little sister. But she's staying strong like her mother."
Irwin's brother, an 18-year old college student at West Virginia University, has been more reserved, said Lynch. "We all grieve in our own ways."
"I've never seen a mother love her daughter as much as Stefanie did," Lynch said of Josie's relationship with her mother. "She was incredibly directive, even during the tough times, and was always loving, loving, loving."
"Josie could light up a room with her smile," Lynch said. "She just made everyone else happy. When you hugged her, you could feel her love."
A public viewing for Josie Irwin will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at on West Mill Rd.
If you'd like to share your memories or photos of Josie Irwin, please contact Long Valley Patch editor Jason Koestenblatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-310-6898.