20 Aug 2014
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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.

Friends of Hit-and-Run Victim Hold Somber Vigil Friends of Hit-and-Run Victim Hold Somber Vigil Friends of Hit-and-Run Victim Hold Somber Vigil

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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