Mural created in Wynwood in memory of model killed in wrong-way crash

Christelle Blanche, 25, killed Oct. 20 on Florida's Turnpike

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida model and mother who was killed in a wrong-way crash is being honored in Miami's Wynwood area by way of a new mural.

"We're using mostly purple because that was her favorite color," said Keyani Watkins, one of several artists who is working on the mural.

The face of Christelle Blanche will be permanently etched on a wall in Wynwood -- an area the 25-year-old aspiring model knew well as she gained popularity in the arts and entertainment industry.

"We're trying to capture the strong feminine presence that she had, as well as the softness that she carried," artist Alejandra Estefania said.

Blanche, a single mother to a 4-year-old girl, was killed last week  after another car that was travelling in the wrong direction hit her in a head-on collision on Florida's Turnpike in southwest Miami-Dade.

The other driver, a 24-year-old woman, also died and investigators are still trying to figure out why it happened and whether that other driver was impaired.

"It's hard to know that she's not here, but I find comfort in knowing that she brought so much joy to my life and so much joy to other people's lives, and that's something we should hold onto," Blanche's friend, Kylie Russell, said.

The mural in honor of Blanche is nearly complete.

"(We) just wanted to add the background foliage -- the leaves," artist Justin Pagan said. 

Each artist working on the portrait were personal friends of the popular model.

"I'm just grateful for the opportunity to give something back to the friend that I knew," Watkins said. 

A friend who still inspiring others, even in death.

"It's the greatest feeling in the saddest time," Pagan said.  

The Florida Highway Patrol said toxicology results on the other driver could take weeks.

In the meantime, the mural is expected to be complete and unveiled this Sunday. Passersby can see the mural along Northwest Fifth Avenue, near 23rd Street.


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