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19-year-old woman killed in collision overnight

Posted at 9:09 AM, Oct 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 01:13:14-04

Tucson police are investigating a collision on North Swan Road near East Glenn Street that left a 19-year-old woman dead.

The woman killed in the collision has been identified as 19-year-old Gisela Puerta. 

Stacy Cooper -- her friend and co-worker -- described her as a girl who would light up the room with her smile, positive energy, and happy demeanor.

"Everything she did with a full heart, with tons of love and caring and compassion," Cooper said. "And passion, for everything that she did."

Though she only knew Puerta for a few months, it was long enough for Cooper to learn how special she was.

"She just exuded confidence all the time," Cooper said. "And just genuinely had a good attitude about life."

Sgt. Kimberly Bay, a spokeswoman for the department, says at 12:23 a.m. officers and members from the Tucson Fire Department responded to a report of a serious injury vehicle collision on North Swan Road, north of East Glenn Street. 

As authorities arrived, they located two vehicles involved in the collision. 

Bay says Puerta was pronounced dead on scene. An adult male passenger was not injured. 

An adult female passenger and the driver of the second vehicle were transported to Banner University Medical Center with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. 

Detectives determined that Puerta was driving a white 2001 Toyota Corolla and was traveling northbound on Swan Road, north of Glenn Street in the median lane. 

An adult man was a front-seat passenger and an adult woman was a rear seat passenger in her vehicle. 

Detectives say the driver and sole occupant of a white 2004 Toyota Camry were traveling southbound on Swan Road approaching East Glenn Street when he crossed over the painted left turn lane and struck the Corolla head on. 

Bay says the occupants of the Corolla were all wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision. 

Speed does not appear to be a factor in the collision. Officers at the scene noticed signs and symptoms of intoxication on the driver of the Camry. However, Bay says the investigation is ongoing and charges are pending. 

Because of this, Cooper has a message for everybody: take a second or two to stop and think about your actions, and what the consequences could be.

"An Uber or a Lyft is you know, fifteen bucks to get you home," she said. "Fifteen bucks over a nineteen year old girl's life."

Instead, friends and family are left with memories of Gisela's bright smile, loving personality, and positive attitude.