More than 1,000 people filled the Nickel Plate Amphitheater Aug. 21 to celebrate the lives of 17-year-old twins Elleana and Isabella Gaddis and Brianna Foster, 18, who died Aug. 16 near Spartanburg, S.C., after an alleged intoxicated woman driving a stolen Hummer traveled the wrong way on the interstate and struck their vehicle head on.
Adjacent to the main stage were large photos of the girls, all Fishers residents. Tables were set up with paper for attendees to write messages and thoughts, along with jars to place them in.
By the time the celebration of life began, the jars were overflowing, as were the emotions of those in attendance. They shared tears and laughs, sorrow and joy and hugs for the families and friends grieving the loss.
For more than an hour, a dozen family members and friends spoke about the girls. That was followed by a fireworks display to punctuate the night.
Speakers at the ceremony revealed the Gaddis twins, who were seniors at Hamilton Southeastern High School, were “a light among lights,” according to their father, Andy Gaddis. To their brother Ayden Gaddis, they were the little girls whose American Girl Dolls he used to “put through a lot of hell” while teasing them when they were younger. They were “pistols,” according to their mother, Amie Drudge. They were spunky, independent and strong willed.
To Brianna Foster’s sister, Hailey Foster, Brianna had “a smile that could brighten up an entire room” and was the “sweetest and most kind-hearted person” Hailey knew. A 2021 graduate of HSE, Brianna loved butterflies.
“Every time you see a butterfly, please think of our girls,” said Foster’s mother, Jodi Foster.
Although the night focused on the Gaddis twins and Foster, their family members asked the community also to support Maci Walts, the lone survivor of the crash. Walts was checked into a hospital on the night of the crash but is physically fine and spoke at the ceremony in Fishers.
Walts, a senior at HSE, has been able to provide details about the tragic night to family members and investigators, including that the girls were only 10 minutes away from the hotel they were supposed to spend the night at when struck by the Hummer. Walts said she and Foster had been talking about when they wanted to have children of their own shortly before the wreck, and how the Gaddis twins were sitting in the backseat, slumped together, asleep.
“Maci is going to be one of mine now. She’s the only one of us here to understand (what it was like in the car before the crash),” Andy Gaddis said. “I will call on all of you to lift her up and support her in any way that you possibly can.”