By Starrla Cray
The Delano community lost a vibrant young woman Wednesday.
Kassondra Sage, 19, of Delano was killed while driving on Interstate 35, after one of the rear tires on her 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser blew, causing her to lose control.
“Words cannot fathom all the emotions and thoughts running through our minds,” noted one of her friends, Matthew Thomas Georges. “She was a an amazing friend, and a loving daughter/sister to her family. Her smile could take away most problems, and what her smile couldn’t take, she did just by talking. Kassondra was truly a great person . . . She always had a smile on her face and was always very kind to people.”
Kassondra graduated from Delano High School in 2015, and is the daughter of Gordon Sage and Joyelle Krienke.
“Kassondra always knew how to make everybody smile. She was the smartest, loving, and most caring person that ever blessed my life,” noted her long-time boyfriend, Kevin Harris. “She was always there to help guide me through my struggles and picked me up when I fell. My entire family loves her as much as I do. She always had something to say that would bring smiles and laughter. Being with her was easily the best thing that ever happened to me. When we moved out on our own, she even let my little brother Daniel Jr. come for weekends to play video games.”
Kevin’s mother, LaMina (Harris) Sheldon, describes Kassondra as a person of “utmost positivity” who took time out to play with Kevin’s little sisters and give them hugs.
“She dropped everything at a moment’s notice to help anyone,” LaMina noted. “Kassondra made us all better people just by knowing her. She made my son smile from ear to ear, just by walking in the room.”
Kevin and Kassondra lived with Kevin’s father, Darrell, stepmother, Jodi, and two sisters, Katrina and Kennedy, for about six months while they searched for an apartment of their own.
“When it came to Kassondra, you did not have to be blood to be family,” LaMina noted. “Once she loved you it was forever, and you just were family.”
The day of the crash, Kassondra had been driving south on I-35 in Steele County just after 5 p.m. when a rear tire blew out. Her vehicle entered the median, rolled, and split in two pieces.
Part of the PT Cruiser came to rest in a northbound lane of I-35, where it was struck by a Harley Davidson, a Dodge pickup, and a Toyota Highlander.
The driver of the 1998 Harley Davidson, Richard Peters, 58, of Albert Lea, sustained non-life threatening injuries in the crash.
The driver of the 2012 Dodge pickup, Michael Songstad, 44, of Emmons, and his passenger Kirsten Lorenz, 38, of Bricelyn, had no apparent injuries, according to the state patrol.
Gerald Wallis, 63, of Dellwood, who was driving a 2015 Toyota Highlander, also had no apparent injuries.
After the crash, traffic on I-35 northbound was detoured at the Ellendale exit.
The Albert Lea Police Department, Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, Steele County Sheriff’s Office, Ellendale Fire and Ambulance, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation assisted at the scene.
For information about funeral services for Kassondra, see her obituary on page XA.