Rochelle Hager was a TikTok star and LGBTQ advocate who died in a tragic freak accident when a pine tree fell on her car in Maine. The 31-year-old Waterville woman was an executive chef remembered for her exuberance, the Sun Journal reported.
Hager was driving south on Knowlton Corner Road in Farmington when a limb from a pine tree crashed onto the roof of her 2015 Nissan Rogue, her local newspaper reported. She died instantly, the Sun Journal wrote. She was on the phone with her fiancee, Brittanie Lynn Ritchie, when it happened, Ritchie told Central Maine.
“We were getting married Oct. 16 — we had already gotten the venue and photographer and everything,” Ritchie said.
Here’s what you need to know:
Hager & Her Fiancee, Brittanie Lynn Ritchie Were Planning a Wedding for October 16 & Ritchie Posted a Touching Tribute Video
Hager and Ritchie were making wedding plans when Hager’s life was suddenly cut short. Ritchie told CentralMaine.com they were planning to marry October 16, 2021.
They were on the phone together when Hager died.
“It happened really quick,” Ritchie told the news outlet. “She has a phone mounted in her vent. I just heard a crash and then there was nothing. She didn’t see the tree coming. It was instant.”
Ritchie and Hager were talking about starting a family the night before her death, she told CentralMaine.com.
“We had picked out a name the night before for a girl,” she said.
Ritchie posted a video about the loss on TikTok and thanked followers for their support.
“Thank you so much for your overwhelming support… A lot of you guys have been asking what happened and I wasn’t ready to talk about it. It’s still new,” she said tearfully. “But I did go and get her stuff out of the car today, so now that has happened. She was driving and we were having a windstorm and a tree fell on her car.”
Hager had nearly 200,000 followers on her TikTok account, where she documented her daily life.
Hager Was a Chef at The Woodlands Where She Made an Impact on the Senior Community
Hager was an executive chef at The Woodlands, where she was remembered fondly by her colleagues and their guests. Benjamin Smith, The Woodlands’ director of operations, told CentralMaine.com the senior community considered Hager special. Seniors live at the Woodlands in Park Residences, where she would often go far above her job duties to help them.
“She did make such a huge impact on the lives of the residents she served,” Smith said. “When you find someone like that, an employee that has that type of personality or aura, it makes a huge difference in the lives of the seniors we serve.”
She was also 10 years sober after a battle with drug addiction. Her fiancee said she advocated for that community as well.
“We had a following on TikTok, and she was all about positivity and making people laugh. She was that kind of person,” Ritchie told CentralMaine.com. “She was a huge advocate for addiction and she survived it and was clean for over 10 years. When she got through that, she went to culinary school in Florida. She was amazing.”