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Friends of Hit-and-Run Victim Hold Somber Vigil

Heartbroken friends sing "happy birthday" as they mourn the loss of Claire Rose, a Santa Monica woman killed in a hit-and-run on Wilshire Boulevard.

To remember Claire Rose, whose beach cruiser was affixed with red roses, a large but tight-knit group of her friends plan to ride their bikes to Tower 10 at Santa Monica beach, where she loved to sunbathe.

They'll cap the evening with food and drinks. But on Tuesday night, emotions were still raw as about 100 friends and family gathered for a candlelight vigil at the intersection .

Under the street lamp at Wilshire Boulevard and 21st Street, they talked in whispers and hugged. Tears streamed down many somber faces. They softly sang a verse of "happy birthday," because she died just hours after turning 30 years old.

"There's been nothing else that I've been able to think about," said friend Paul Forte, of Venice.

He met Rose through mutual friends while vacationing in Costa Rica. Her next trip was supposed to be to Hawaii with her boyfriend of six years, Sascha Rasmussen, he said.

"She was very vivacious but also incredibly down to earth," Forte said.

Rose wore heart-shaped sunglasses, hula-hooped and blew bubbles, an activity  mimicked by some at Tuesday's vigil. She hailed from Utah and reportedly worked as a Pilates instructor.

"It sounds cliché but she loved life," said friend Raja Collins, of West Hollywood, who met Rose while working at neighboring bars on the Sunset Strip. "She was a present day hippy. She always had a smile on her face."

Another friend, Tanya Porter of Sherman Oaks, said Rose was her "soul sister."

She loved anything silly, and had "a high pitched melodic voice—just hearing it warmed my heart," she said.

They all said Rose "had a big heart."

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A growing memorial at a brick planter in the parking lot of includes a black and white "witnesses needed" flier.

Authorities said Rose was struck by a charcoal grey or black Toyota or similar type sedan as she walked northbound in a crosswalk on 21st. After crashing into the woman, the driver continued west on Wilshire Blvd to 15th Street, then east to California Avenue and out of sight.

"We turned for a second and heard a pop," Charles Tobias told NBC Los Angeles. "I saw this girl flying through the air like a rag doll and land on the ground face down. The car just kept on driving—didn’t stop, no brakes, nothing. Just like it hit a bug on a windshield."

Hours before the crash, Rose spent the night celebrating her birthday with friends. The evening began at , where they met up with her and boyfriend, Forte said.

"Sasha and Claire both had their bikes... they decided to get cabs [for the rest of the night]—they did the right thing," Forte said. "It was actually a really fun night."

A funeral fund, the Sascha Fund, has been established on Paypal.

Anyone with information was asked to contact investigators Chris Dawson or Jason Olson at (310) 458-8954, Sgt. Phillbo Rubish at (310) 458-8950 or the Santa Monica Police Department's 24/7 line at (310) 458-8495.

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Mags July 18, 2012 at 04:21 PM
This is so wrong...something like the 5th hit and run fatality in ONE WEEK in LA...and the 2nd or 3rd in Santa Monica! Rest in peace, Claire and Erin, and others killed this week :(
TC July 18, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I didn't see the accident, but heard every detail as I was 60 feet away outside, getting ready to start my motorcycle. The sound was absolutely horrifying, and just as loud as if two cars were colliding with each other. This poor sweet woman was thrown with such force, I knew as I approached I was looking upon lifeless body, strewn in the street, not belonging there. This crime is infuriating, I keep replaying the sound in my head, and I know that the vehicle must have been going extremely fast. I am devastated and give my condolences, and admonish the cops to put every priority toward collaring the ruthless monster who did not even stop. One detail: for what it's worth, the vehicle may have been a hybrid as there was zero vehicle noise right after the huge impact as though the driver may have been able to slip away in silence. God bless you Claire, you were the dance that life was doing. Peace.
P Patch July 18, 2012 at 09:09 PM
paypal to SaschaFund@gmail.com ...
Sandie D July 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM
My thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and her family that is here in Utah... Her parents are good friends of mine and my heart aches for them and for her friends... My prayers are that her parents Eric and Rosemary and that her brothers and sisters finds the kind of peace that can only come from God... May God heal the hearts of all those that are hurting and missing Claire Rose... I do hope that they find the driver of this vehicle and hold who ever it is accountable for their actions... There is no way to know what was going on in the drivers head or life to make him/her bale... But I hope the right thing is done... Also I would like to say that I know her family here in Utah is reading all these comments and I'm pretty sure her friends are... It would be nice if people remember that Clair was loved by many....
AR July 20, 2012 at 08:47 PM
My girlfriend and I live on California Ave, and saw the car race by at 80 plus mph, running stop signs. The car had a dragging sound and one headlight and no tail lights, it was very hard to see and dark. We paused for a minute heard sirens and realized something was wrong, so decided to try and follow the car, but it disappeared too fast. We drove around looking with no luck. Soon after we reported to the police at the scene the direction of the fleeing vehicle. It is so disturbing that the person would leave the scene. No matter what, this innocent woman is gone. Did the motorcycle witness see the car at all?
Charles Tobias July 21, 2012 at 01:04 AM
@ AR - It is my belief that the car was traveling at least 60mph + before hitting Claire. It was so fast and sudden, and she traveled almost 40 feet from impact of the east crosswalk then landed face down right at the center median of the west crosswalk 10 feet from me. By that time, the car was gone into the darkness. Everybody who witnessed it including me, believes that the car was black with tinted windows. Possibly a newer Prius or Solaris. There was severe damage done to the front end of the car and windshield. All we have now is hope that the authorities will locate some type of surveillance sighting of the car, or that the heartless driver turns themselves in knowing that they killed an innocent young life.
TC July 21, 2012 at 06:44 PM
@AR: The car slipped away before I got to the intersection. Though I didn't see the impact, I heard the sound, being very close outside. It was a vicious, unbelievable slamming which meant the car was going way way too fast. I rushed to the corner to find not 2 crashed cars, (which is what it sounded like) but instead a single body that had been thrown all the way across the intersection and no trace of car. The driver made no stop even after the impact. Cops marked not only where she landed but also where she was struck, and marked what looked like where her shoe landed or cap, after she was knocked out of at least one of them. She did not have time to scream nor react. We are talking about speeds that would have been illegal even on the freeway, and brutally selfish. The driver has robbed her friends and family from sharing any more of this woman's life, and it is very important to catch this criminal and bring just a tiny bit of closure to all of them. I hope too much more time does'nt pass and people don't stop being on the lookout. Don't let the felon take advantage of each passing day to slip out of our awareness. Take care. T
Charles Tobias July 25, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Slowly but surely we are going to have this spineless coward who hit Claire brought to justice. Police have determined the make and model of the car as a Black 2009 or 2010 Toyota Corolla S based on evidence they gathered at the scene of the crime and reports of witnesses. Let's get the word out and catch this criminal who ripped the life of a young innocent girl from her family, friends, and boyfriend who all dearly loved her. PLEASE SHARE!!! http://santamonica.patch.com/articles/police-uncover-helpful-clue-in-deadly-hit-and-run
TC July 25, 2012 at 07:13 PM
@Charles: Thanks for the update and the link. It is encouraging to know of any progress. I keep visiting the vigil site and even left a poem message, in efforts to console and be comforted myself. Will share your message too. Keep strong, and for the peace of mind to all her beloved friends and family, keep the feelings of life and love that Claire gave to all of them--alive. Best TC
Charles Tobias July 25, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Yeah me too. It's right across the street from my office, so I'm reminded of it every day. I see it getting bigger and bigger. The love is certainly outpouring to her and really indicates how much of amazing soul this girl truly was. I don't even know her, but being a witness to it, and knowing that the person who did this is still out there, is absolutely heart wrenching. I have stopped by her vigil several times as well and paid my respects. They set up a memorial site for her on facebook if you want to join. http://www.facebook.com/ClaireRoseForever
TC July 27, 2012 at 04:27 AM
@Charles: Good to know about the link on facebook. Every time I'm at the site, someone walks by who did not know what happened and they are shocked to hear a bit about it. They see the messages, photos, candles, and are overcome with the whole event. I've met quite a few of these passersby, who turn from curiosity to complete sympathy and numbness. Awareness keeps growing as long as the site is there. Of all the tragic accidents and wrongful premature passings I have experienced in my 52 years, this is way, way up there. In deference to Claire, I befriend the passersby, and speak in a way that she would find appropriate, and I sure don't have to say much after they get the fact that a harmless sweet spirit met such a frightening brutal hell. Thank you so much for having the presence of mind to stick around too that awful night, to talk to her and be there for her. I saw you as I walked the few feet up from where I was, the cops showed up and I was dreading the worst. Long live her soul.
Charles Tobias August 25, 2012 at 11:12 PM
@AR I Know you said you and your gf tried following the car. Out of curiousity, where abouts did you start following the car, and about how many blocks do you think you were behind it? I know it was fast and sudden. I'm just curious, as I'm staying over in that same area now and I'm looking at every single car that I feel fits that description. I just have a stinking suspicion, this criminal lives close to us. Thanks for at least trying to follow the heartless driver who killed Claire that night.

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