Damita Nicholson, 38, had just graduated from Everest College.
Police are investigating the crash which happened at the intersection of 165th street and Columbia Avenue in Hammond when the driver of another car allegedly ran a red light.
On Sunday at 2:30 a.m., Nicholson left a party and was heading to her home in Gary. She was eastbound on 165th when Hammond police say a man driving a Ford Focus sped through the stop light on Colombia and crashed into Nicholson's van on the driver's side. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Both the driver and passenger of the Ford are in serious condition and Hammond police say the driver's blood alcohol level was twice that of the legal limit.
Nicholson had been talking to her mother lately about moving to a new state and making a fresh start in life.
"Every time I turned around she was in school. But I really encouraged her," said Rose Nicholson, mother. "It only takes one drink for you to go out there and make a mistake."
The crash is still being investigated, and it could take days before charges are filed.
Nicholson's family say all they can do at this time is support each other and make sure her sons, ages 1, 2 and 13, remember their mom.
"I just pray for the person who killed her because he's going to have to live with this for the rest of his life," Rose Nicholson said.