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Co-workers mourn sudden death of 20-year-old killed by tree

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A tragic and bizarre accident, just outside Indianapolis, took the life of a beloved 20-year-old woman who graduated from Penn High School in South Bend.

Chelsea Lovett was killed instantly after a tree fell on her during a horseback riding tour Sunday afternoon in Brown County and those who knew the Granger native are now trying to make sense of it all.

Lovett was well liked at Polito's Pizzeria in South Bend, where she worked as a cashier and hostess for nearly three years. Those who worked with her are now upset and shocked by the sudden loss of Lovett, a former employee.

"I was stunned. I have a 20-year-old and they were friends and it's just terrible," said owner Rebecca Polito.

Gone to soon, that's the sentiment at Polito's Pizzeria. " She has tenacity, she was definitely feisty and we are going to miss her".

The Penn High School graduate was leading a guided horseback tour when a dead tree fell into another tree, causing a branch to fall right on top of her. Lovett was killed instantly.

"It's heartbreaking. I feel for the parents very much so," said Polito.

Polito, the owner of the family-run pizzeria, said Lovett was passionate about horses. So, she is comforted knowing Lovett died doing what she loved.

"I just felt a little bit better that she was with her horses and she was doing something she loved. She was going to school, she was pursuing her dreams," said Polito.

It was more than just a working relationship, though. Polito's son graduated from high school alongside Lovett and her identical twin sister, who he was both friends with.

"A good spirit, a good heart, and there's not a lot of people like her. They [Lovett's parents] should be proud that they raised her the way they did. She left us with a lot of good memories," said an emotional Polito.

Lovett's funeral will be held at Saint Pius X Catholic Church, but the day and time of the service has yet to be announced.

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