Louisville families prepare for funerals after deadly crash in Ohio

Published: Jun. 26, 2017 at 9:43 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2017 at 9:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A road trip to an amusement park in Ohio last week ended in heartbreak for several Louisville families.

>> VIDEO: Watch Connie Leonard's report

Three people from Louisville were killed and a young woman from New Albany was hospitalized when their vehicle crashed into a semi head-on.

The truck driver is also from our area. Christopher Marietta, 39, of Elizabethtown, was not hurt.

The crash happened on U.S. 6 in Madison Township, Ohio on Friday, as the four were on their way to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky. Ohio Highway Patrol said the site of the crash has seen many accidents.

Alexis Martin, 21, who was a passenger in the car, had serious injuries. Her friends told WAVE 3 News she is recovering at an Ohio hospital.

Martin's three friends who didn't make it were loved by many people, who still can't believe they're gone.

"He'll always, always be in our hearts and we'll always love him forever and ever," Crystal Nelson, the mother Cody Nelson, 25, said.

OHP said Matt Bramel, 21, was driving. They believe the PRP graduate just misjudged his timing as he tried to pass traffic and hit the semi head-on.

Bramel's childhood friend, Doug Beck, shared videos with us of the two friends goofing off. Beck said Bramel is a former high school wrestler who had a great sense of humor, but above all was kind.

"He was the nicest guy," Beck said. "He would do anything for anybody and you didn't even have to ask."

Beck remembered his dad would ask for help in his grass cutting business.

"Matt would be like, 'I'm there'," Beck said.

Bramel's 19-year-old girlfriend of two years, Shelby Johnson, was also killed. Friends said it was hard to know one without the other, and the couple just celebrated their two year dating anniversary before the trip.

"Shelby was very outgoing," her friend, Kaylin Shackelford said. "She was very bright and she had a very big personality."

In a message, Johnson's mother told us of her daughter, "You would never meet a more beautiful, loving soul."

Cody Nelson's good friend, Adam Schwab, told us, "He never judged a soul and almost everyone he talked to and was friends with would know him as someone that would give great advice. He was a very kindhearted, caring person."

"He was an amazing, amazing brother, son, nephew, uncle and amazing friend to all the people that were in his life," Crystal Nelson added of her son.

The Elizabethtown semi driver told authorities he tried to avoid the crash, but couldn't.

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