Family mourns loss of adventurous young woman

Brittany Graham

Brittany Graham was someone who loved the outdoors, dancing, mudding and animals.

"She was full of life and exuberant," said her big sister, Melinda Drastata Russell, 31, of Buda. "In her 18 years, she probably lived more than anyone else does in their entire lifetime."

The 18-year-old El Campo High School student was killed after a train crashed into a vehicle she was driving Thursday afternoon in Blessing.

The Department of Public Safety office in Pierce received a call at 3:06 p.m. Thursday about the crash at Revis Road and 12th Street in Blessing, according to a report by Trooper Marc Kanz.

A 2007 Ford Edge, driven by Graham, was traveling north on Revis Road approaching a railroad crossing and failed to stop for the train, according to the report.

The Union Pacific train crashed into the left, driver side of the vehicle and killed Graham at the scene, according to the report.

The railroad crossing did not have traffic crossing arms.

The passenger, Alphonse Revis, 20, of Blessing, was flown to the Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center in Houston with critical, incapacitating injuries, according to the report.

Revis, who was Graham's boyfriend, was in the shock trauma intensive care unit as of Friday evening, according to hospital officials.

Russell said her sister was active in FFA at school and loved animals, especially her dog Toby, who went everywhere with her.

Graham was set to graduate high school this year.

"She was undecided, like most 18-year-olds trying to figure it out still," she said of her sister's plans for the future. "Whatever she would have done, she would have been amazing at it."

Russell said she tried pushing Graham to go to Texas A&M University and would take her to College Station for the weekends.

She remembers taking Graham to her first A&M football game and her saying, "There's a lot of maroon."

Russell is 13 years older than Graham, and her little sister was like her child.

She took her sister to the first day of school every year for five or six years.

"She loved stealing and wearing my clothes," Russell said. "I actually realized a dress she was wearing for her graduation pictures was one of my dresses."

Russell added that her sister had a bubbly personality, always had a smile on her face and never met a stranger.

More than 500 people have contacted her family to offer their condolences, and more than $5,000 have been donated to a GoFundMe account set up to help with her funeral expenses as of Friday night.

Russell is grateful for the outpouring of love and support the family has received because of her sister and said Graham will be greatly missed.

One of Russell's favorite memories with her sister was having her as a maid of honor last year at her wedding.

She said the best man was 32 years old, and her sister had a better speech as a 17-year-old maid of honor.

"I am going to miss the opportunity to be her maid of honor and for her to be an aunt to my kids someday," Russell said.

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Arts/Entertainment and Breaking News Reporter

I love asking people what they are passionate about. Working for the Victoria Advocate allows me to learn more about the fascinating things people are doing throughout their community.

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