MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Icy roads are being blamed for a crash that killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Now, she’s being remembered for her volunteer work in dog rescues that touched lives around the country.

Alyssa Winters, 35, was on her way to a family Christmas Saturday when she approached the intersection of Highway 14 and County Road 48 just east of Mankato. She couldn’t stop on the icy road and was then broadsided by a car. She died later at the hospital.

“She was so bubbly,” Pam Radtke, Winter’s mother, said. “She would always ask me if she would make a good mom, I told her, ‘you’ll make an excellent mother.'”

The couple was expecting their first child, a daughter, on Feb 1, 2015.

“It was just a sad loss. We won’t get to experience that,” Perez said.

Winters was well-known in the community for her involvement in helping rescue, rehabilitate and re-home pit bulls and other similar breeds. She began devoting her time to rescuing dogs after she adopted her own rescued pit bull, Wally, five years ago.

Wally was with Winters when they crashed. He survived the crash.

“He was her whole life hands down,” Val Perez, Winters’ boyfriend, said, laughing. “I definitely knew my role in the relationship compared to (Wally).”

In addition to working as a medical assistant at a Mankato clinic, Winters was worked as a volunteer at Save-A-Bull Rescue. Perez says Winters helped hundreds of abused or neglected dogs find loving homes over the years.

“She had a very giving heart and she was always full of compassion,” Radtke said. “I hadn’t realized how many lives she had touched.”

Save-A-Bull released a statement, saying in part: “Alyssa Winters was an amazing advocate for pit bulls, she was a ray of sunshine and a bright light in a world that can sometimes get us down.”

Winters’ family says they are proud to tell her story and how she gave back to animals and families. They hope to volunteer to carry on her work and her spirit.

“She would absolutely love that,” Perez said.

“We have a very caring community praying for us and we’ll get through this,” Radtke said.

The two people in the other car are both OK.

If you’d like to donate to Save-A-Bull, click here.

Kate Raddatz

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