Family completes item on bucket list for student killed by drunk driver

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Kristina Chesterman’s family is taking the steps she can’t. They flew from California to Niagara Falls to check an item off her bucket list.

“I know she’s in heaven and she’s saying get out of bed in the morning and go on,” said Sandra Chesterman, Kristina’s mom. “And just do what we can in her name and that’s what we do.”

Kristina’s family explained that they felt her presence as they toured the Falls, went on the Maid of the Mist and did the Cave of the Winds tour.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone. I would have stayed back while Dave and the kids went but I’m trying to do this trip through Kristina’s eyes. Do it like she would do it.”

Kristina’s life was taken abruptly last September. She was riding her bike home from the library at Chico State University in California when she was struck by a drunk driver.

Hours before the crash she spoke to her parents one last time.

“We said our usual ‘I love yous’ and ‘goodbye.’ And then a couple of hours later I was actually laying down with my youngest daughter when the phone rang.”

The 21-year-old suffered a severe brain injury and died two days later. Riley Hoover is accused of killing her. He is now facing felony DUI and hit-and-run charges.

But out of this tragedy renewed life has emerged. Kristina was an organ donor and saved the lives of five people.

“You don’t need them when you’re going and there’s so many out there that are waiting for organs.”

One of the main things the Chesterman family wants people to get from their daughter’s passing is that donating an organ can save a life.

“Currently in the United States there are over 122,000 people waiting for an organ transplant. Eighteen people die every single day waiting,” said Sarah Diina of Unyts.

If you want to be an organ donor you can sign up on the New York State Donate Life Registry or you can go through the Unyts website at

Now that the Chesterman’s have checked Niagara Falls off Kristina’s Bucket list, they’re onto the next adventure – riding a camel. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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