Samantha Russell died after being struck by a car on Tuesday evening

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Samantha Russell
Credit: Facebook

Friends of Samantha Russell, the 22-year-old expectant mother whose baby was delivered prematurely after she was killed in a hit-and-run, are speaking out following her death.

"Still in disbelief," longtime family friend Chad Harrison told KAKE. "You never think it can happen to someone that close to you. You always hear about the stories. You always read it in the paper. But until it hits home and affects you or one of your loved ones... It's hard."

Shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, Russell was waiting to make a left turn at an intersection when a man allegedly fleeing from Wichita police ran a red traffic light and slammed into her car, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The crash involved two other vehicles, but the pregnant Russell was the only person who died. The following day, her husband, Brandon Russell, announced that the couple's baby was delivered prematurely.

Harrison lived near Russell's family for years in North Carolina. He considered her like family. According to Harrison, Russell's family is taking their mourning hour by hour — and trying to care for the newborn.

"It was devastating, you know, and to know that there was a baby, you know, still in a mother's womb that survived that. It's just, it's unbelievable. It's a miracle in itself," Harrison said.

Brandon Russell and his baby Mac
Credit: Brandon Russell/Facebook

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Russell was 33 weeks pregnant when she died, according to the Wichita Eagle. The baby's due date was in August.

"Samantha was going to be a fantastic mother," Brandon Russell, the victim's husband, wrote on Facebook. "She always had everything planned out and ready to go. She was driven and the hardest worker I knew. She always ALWAYS knew what to say when I was going through an issue or needed advice. She was the best person to know."

Harrison echoed Brandon Russell's comments about Russell, telling KAKE she had a big personality and "bubbly laugh."

"She always had a plan, an ambition, strive, goals. Always set goals for herself. Always wanted to do more, always wanted to do better," he said. "And not just for herself, but for those people around her. So she wanted to raise everyone up around her as well."

GoFundMe page has been started to help support the young family. According to Wichita police, the driver who caused the crash is under arrest and could face a murder charge, the Eagle reports.