BUFFALO, N.Y. – There is an effort underway to help the survivors of a young mother from Amherst, killed Friday in a crash on the New York State Thruway.

“I just couldn’t believe it," said a still shocked Stephanie Marts of Hamburg, when speaking about the sudden and tragic loss of one of her best friends, Jessica O'Connor, who stood up for Stephanie at her wedding last year.

O’Connor, 29, was traveling with her two young children, four-year-old Matthew and two-year-old Isabella,
on the Thruway in Hamburg late Friday night, and when her car was hit by a wrong way driver heading west in the east bound lanes.

O’Connor died after being rushed to the Erie County Medical Center, while her children were treated for injuries from which they are expected to recover, at Buffalo Women and Children’s Hospital.

The father of the two children, O’Connor’s boyfriend Kenneth Skinner, was traveling separately ahead of O’Connor, according to Marts, and had actually encountered the wrong way vehicle first, trying unsuccessfully to swerve his car into its path, before it could reach O’Connor’s.

“She was the type of person who would do anything for anybody. She'd give you the shirt off her back is she could," said Marts, who has set up a Go Fund Me page to help O’Connor’s surviving children and step-children.