GOBLES, Mich. — Woody's Goodies convenient store in Gobles hasn’t been the same since Saturday night. Crystal Norton worked there and was suppose to come in earlier this week, but she never made it. Portage police say she was killed in a car crash that night by a teenager who led police on a four-mile, high-speed car chase.
Norton’s daughter Asia also hasn’t been the same. Her mom died the day after her 9th birthday.
“Her world revolved around Asia,” said co-worker Brenda Page who said Norton had a smile that could brighten anyone's day. “A lot of us will never meet another person that will affect us that way.”
Page said that she and Crystal Norton, 33 of Paw Paw, worked together for the last nine years stocking shelves and working the cash register. They shared a special bond and would often confide in one another. Page misses Norton and said that she can still hear her voice when she’s at work.
“I see her everywhere,” said Page. “I walk through the door and I want to cry as I walk in the door every morning. I’m going to miss hearing her say ‘Good Morning Brenda’ when I walk in every morning.”
Portage law enforcement said Norton was killed instantly that fateful night and they identified the accused driver as 17-year-old David Michael Mills. To help the family cope, Page said she and store owner Jeffrey Wood have set up a fund for Asia. Friends have also created a scrapbook filled with written memories of Norton to remind Asia of who her mom was as a person.
“We can’t bring her back but I think he needs to pay,” said Page of the accused driver. "He’s taken away a 9-year-olds mom, who’s going to suffer the rest of her life everyday. On her birthday she’s going to think of her mom being gone the next day.”
Page said Asia's hurting and has been crying a lot. She hopes the fund, which has raised $3200 so far, will ease the pain a little. She’s grateful for every person and corporation who’s donated.
“Its been fabulous for a small community like this, to see everybody come together,” said Page. “She’s touched so many people. It's amazing.”