'She was my angel': Loved ones remember USC student killed in Carolina Forest crash

Rachel Mullen, 19, died in a car crash July 2, 2018, on Carolina Forest Boulevard.
Rachel Mullen, 19, died in a car crash July 2, 2018, on Carolina Forest Boulevard.

She was always happy.

She loved breakfast foods and going to the beach.

But more importantly, Rachel Mullen was the type of friend, daughter and sibling most people long to have — someone who would stand up for anyone, knew how to make people laugh at the right time and always gave the best advice, her loved ones say.

Mullen died Monday in a car crash on Carolina Forest Boulevard. She was 19 years old.

"She was my angel and now she's gone," her father Paul Mullen said. "She was such a great person."

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Paul Mullen and his daughter Rachel Courtesy of Paul Mullen

Mullen was the glue of the family.

"When we had fights among ourselves as a family, she would step in and try to be the mediator, the voice of reason," Paul Mullen said.

She gave everything 100 percent. "If she wanted to do something, she did it to the best of her ability," her father said.

The 19-year-old just finished her freshman year at the University of South Carolina and was home for the summer, working as a waitress. She was a graduate of Carolina Forest High School.

Her goal was to become a nurse, and her favorite show was Grey's Anatomy. She was following in her older sister's footsteps, her mother Christine Mullen said. She recalls one of her daughter's middle school teachers telling her he hoped for his daughters to grow up like Rachel Mullen.

"She was above her years," she said. "She dances to the beat of her own drum."

The family's favorite memories together are camping and traveling to New York to see family.

"Every moment I was with her was a great memory," Paul Mullen said.

Mullen loved to eat breakfast food at Waffle House or Johnny D's.

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Rachel, Connor, Kori, Christine and Lea

Topeka Gibson, a friend of Mullen's since age four, said the two would always tell people they were cousins, but they were much closer than cousins.

Though they went to different high schools and colleges, they had a bond that couldn’t be broken, Gibson said.

"I have my whole life in common with Rachel," she said. "We were there for all the excitement, change, disappointment, and even turmoil of each other's lives.

She was a superstar cheerleader, said friend Mackenzie Lowrie. And together, the friends made too many memories to count.

During cheerleading camp in high school, Mullen, Lowrie and two others were roommates in a college dorm. Lowrie recalls Mullen getting ready one morning, blasting music and dancing around.

"She was so happy," Lowrie said. "At the time, it was just Rachel being her normal, spunky self, but looking back on it makes me realize how she was always like that. She was never sad and always happy.

"I wish everyone could have the chance to have a friend like her."

Rachel Mullen died in a car crash July 2, 2018 on Carolina Forest Boulevard. Mullen was a cheerleader, great friend and always a happy person, her friends and family say.

Shelby Beckler, a University of South Carolina student who was friends with Mullen, said the 19-year-old would "talk your ears off."

"Rachel Mullen was one in a million," she said. "From the moment I met her at South Carolina, I knew that girl was different. She had a spirit to her that was like no other."

Mullen loved to dance and work out at the gym with friends.

She was involved in YoungLife, and was going to be a leader in the ministry program this upcoming academic year at the Richland Northeast location.

Her favorite artist was Michael Jackson — she even dressed as him one Halloween.

Shelby Beckler, left, and Rachel Mullen pose for a Halloween photo. Courtesy of Shelby Beckler

Mullen is survived by her parents, Paul and Christine, siblings, Kori, Lea and Connor, grandparents, aunts and uncles, many cousins, friends and her church family. A service to celebrate her life is at 2 p.m. Monday at Ocean View Baptist Church, 7300 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach.

A gofundme page was created Tuesday to help fund services. In less than a day, the account raised more than $12,500.

Reporter Mary Ramsey contributed to this story.

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong