A Liberty University was supposed to be celebrating her 23rd birthday Wednesday, but after a car crash, friends are now mourning her death.
According to university officials, Shinjae Park was a backseat passenger in a car traveling south on Interstate 95 in South Carolina on Monday. She was with a group of Liberty students heading to Orlando for spring break.
The car ran off the road and struck several trees, according to officials, and Park died on scene.
Park was an international student from South Korea, studying family and child development, according to faculty members.
Friends we spoke with said she loved working out, cooking and being an active member of her church group.
“I think Shinjae was an angel for us,” said Sharon Yun, a friend of Shinjae Park.
Park hoped to start a career in school counseling after finishing up her degree at Liberty University, Yun said.
“Shinjae was a loving person,” she said. “She was really cheerful and very truthful.”
“She wanted everyone to believe God and trust God,” said Daeun Kim, who was also a friend of Park and fellow member of her church group.
According to leaders of the 701 Korean Church at Liberty University, Park was an active member of the youth worship ministry group, serving as one of the singers at Sunday services.
“That’s the only way we can move forward – through our faith, our faith in heaven,” said Nakjung Kim, worship pastor.
Kim said the church is a tight-knit group – one that has become even closer through tragedy.
“I saw how strong our bond was,” Nakjung Kim said. “I saw how our associate pastor, lead pastor, senior pastor have been doing their best and doing what they can.”
Church members we spoke with said Park often prayed for her parents and relatives. Now, they are honoring her by doing the same.
“I hope everyone remembers her as a Christian who has a great faith in God,” said Hyunjin Noh, a friend.
“I think the only thing I can do is pray for her family and for all of us,” Yun said.
The 701 Korean Church held a private prayer service in Park’s honor Wednesday night.
According to university officials, the other three people in the car were injured, including one person with broken ribs. Friends told WFXR News all are expected to recover.