“I don’t feel that any description can accurately portray just how lovable, kooky, eccentric, unique, joyful, crazy – in the best way – soulful and wonderful she was. Any day with Maxine was a good day.”
These are the words of one fellow student as he remembers UCF senior Maxine Bartkovich, who died on Feb. 17 following a four-vehicle collision on I-4.
UCF film student JW Hendricks had grown to be one of her best friends, describing their friendship, not as inseparable, but as incredibly powerful due to the simple fact that she was the absolute best at being a friend, and someone who would treat any person like she’d known them her entire life, he said.
The 21-year-old hospitality student was declared dead at Orlando Regional Medical Center after being transported from the crash site next to mile marker 62 near Walt Disney World. She had been driving her Toyota Corolla at approximately 5 p.m. when a Ford pick-up truck struck her vehicle from behind, forcing her's into another Ford truck in front of her, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
Student and friend Angelica Gonzalez, a 2015 alumna who majored in hospitality management, spoke about the last time she remembered seeing Bartkovich, saying that she was the kind of person who stuck with you even after only meeting her once.
"There are very few people in this world like her," Gonzalez said. "She was the type of person that needed to be experienced."
Hendricks echoed this statement, adding that no combination of words exist to truly explain how wonderful Bartkovich really was.
“No one will ever be able to capture her spirit, but for those of us that knew her and were captured by her spirit, we know that a life with Maxine Bartkovich in it is a good life,” Hendricks said. “And we want to spread the love that she so powerfully radiated. We're going to make sure that love doesn't die.”
In celebration of Bartkovich’s life, a group of her friends will be hosting a memorial event at Natura Coffee and Tea on Feb. 20 from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. The event is open to everyone who knew and loved Maxine, according to the event page.
“This is a hard time for everyone, but it’s easier together,” reads the invitation.
The crash remains under investigation by FHP and charges are pending.
This article was originally published on Feb. 17.
Daniela Marin is a digital producer for the?Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.