SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. - From planning a wedding to planning a funeral: that is the reality for one 22-year-old woman in Sun Prairie.
Alyssa Van Gorder and Ryan Schultz, 24, were engaged to be married next January, but those plans were derailed Sunday night when Schultz was hit and killed by a suspected drunken driver.
Ask Van Gorder about her fiancé, and like anyone in love, she doesn't have enough good things to say.
"He was kind. He was gentle, and he was a really, really good man," Van Gorder said. "He loved me. He loved his best friends. You'd call him in the middle of the night and say, 'Hey, I need something,' and he'd be there. He was special."
The two met two Aprils ago, and their attraction was instant.
"I knew from the second that I opened my door and saw that cute boy with those big blue eyes," Van Gorder said.
Last December Schultz proposed to Van Gorder on a rainy but romantic day at Devil's Lake.
"I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him," Van Gorder said.
But her dreams of a future with Schultz faded into a nightmare Sunday.
Schultz was headed home to Sun Prairie after having dinner with his family in Johnsburg. While driving on Highway 151 he was struck by another driver, Eric Hagenbart, who police said was driving the wrong way. Hagenbart was suspected to have been drinking. He crashed into Schultz, killing him instantly.
"I think that that person took everything away from me," Schultz said of Hagenbart.
Van Gorder said she was able to speak to Schultz shortly before the crash.
"He had told me that his phone was at five percent battery but he wanted to use that five percent to talk to me," she said. "He said 'I love you,' and I said 'I love you more,' and he said, 'No, I love you more.' And I told him that I loved him one more time and he said it back to me, and we hung up."
Those words and her memories are all that is left. Van Gorder said the only way she'll be able to move on from the tragedy of Sunday is to live a life of love and adventure exactly as she and Schultz had planned.
"He told me things, places that he always wanted to see," she said. "And because of this person's choices, he doesn't have that anymore and I will do that for him."
Hagenbart, of Beaver Dam, has a history of drunken driving arrests. His condition is currently unknown to the public. He was taken to the hospital via Flight for Life with life-threatening injuries.
If you'd like to help Van Gorder, click here.
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