Close friends mourning the loss of 38-year-old woman killed in OWI crash

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A former student advisor for Milwaukee's Custer High School lost her life over the weekend when a drunk driver hit her. And it's an ironic end to her life because Stephanie Kruse was a recovering alcoholic.

It's not hard to find social media posts from former students sad and in shock right now. Years after they graduated, many were still in touch with Kruse, one even referred to her as her second mom.

Stephanie Kruse is gone at age 38, but she leaves behind a legacy.

"This is one of my pictures from Bella's birthday," said Alorsheirs Osborne, who called the victim her second mom.

The photos now, a comfort to friends who recall she loved to knit, to hike and to bike ride. Above that, they'll remember her kindness.

"So she accepted me for who I was like, she was like I ain't got no kids, I'm taking you under my wing," said Osborne.

Alorsheirs Osborne first met Kruse 14 years ago at Custer High School when things weren't going so well.

"I was behind in work. I mean that's when I became a diabetic and she encouraged me to you know stay strong and to finish graduation. I felt like God sent her to me," said Osborne.

Saturday, as Kruse was riding her bicycle only a block from her West Allis home. A witness tells police this man, Donzell Lamont Payne, was speeding at 45-50 miles an hour in this tan Toyota down Greenfield Avenue. The impact crushing the Toyota windshield and throwing the bicycle 60 feet.

"I just feel like for her to be in AA to recover from alcohol and then to have someone you know kill her from a drunk driver it just hurt because like she recover from that," said Osborne.

Police say after the crash, Payne couldn't maintain his balance, had red, glassy eyes, and stated he had no recollection of what happened.

"He just broke a lot of people's heart," said Osborne.

Friends say Kruse had been sober for several years and was a mentor to many.

"If I have to write in a journal and just write to her every night to let her know that I really appreciate her. Til the day I leave this earth, I'm gonna make sure that I keep her name alive," said Osborne.

The driver's a convicted felon, for going on an armed robbery spree in Milwaukee back in 1998. His next court date is Oct. 10.

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