COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Shaumari Fluellen was an ambitious, driven, and family-oriented 20-year-old. She aspired to have her very own salon and call it "Family Affair."
Shaumari wanted to be a master cosmetologist and was already in the process of getting her business license to have a full-service salon.
Her oldest sister, Coco Fluellen, saw her determination first-hand every day.
"She was a young lady who knew what she wanted and by any means necessary she was going to get that," Coco said. "She had ambition and drive out of this world. As an older sister, I felt like I paved the way, but she laid concrete ahead of me. I couldn't even get to where she was going. That inspired me to keep going."
She had just graduated from Chattahoochee Technical College in 2021. Monday night, Shaumari's dreams were cut short.
That night, just before 10 p.m., Cobb County police responded to I-285 North between South Cobb Drive and Atlanta Road. Shaumari, who was on her way to pick up her brother from work, was alone in a gold 2001 Mercedes Benz on the interstate when she lost control and crashed into the median wall, according to officers. Police said shortly afterwards, a purple Jeep Wrangler crashed into the rear of her car.
After both cars stopped in the left northbound lane, police said she got out of her car and attempted to cross to the right shoulder. She was struck by multiple vehicles.
Her aunt, Diane McCoy, hopes to live out Shaumari's legacy as best as possible.
"It's just so unexpected. The impact of this has crushed my heart," Diane said. "There's an emptiness in the heart that cannot be filled by anyone or anything as long as I live. I will always cherish her and to know that she went not the way we wanted her to go, but due to the will of God we accept that. One day, we'll see her again. We just have to keep living and live that legacy that she left."
A search is on after Cobb County Police said they believe the first driver left the scene. Cobb Police don't have a description of the vehicle yet.
Coco, who said she takes care of her siblings as if they were her own children, remembers her sister calling her that night, after crashing into the median wall.
"Throughout this tragedy – I was the person that she called to come and help her," Coco said. "I got that last call. I got that last image. I got those last emotions. That was tough for me because for 20 years I protected her. For 20 years I’ve shown her the best that I can show her. For 20 years I tried to live a good life so that they had a better life. Then that time I couldn’t protect her."
Coco headed out the door quickly while her younger sister, Shante Lott, kept calling Shaumari.
"[Shaumari's] call came through and she's like, 'Coco, I need you to come quick.' She was frantic. Me being me, I grabbed my stuff, ran out the door and tried to get to her as quickly as I could. When I left, Shante was still trying to communicate with her, but we lost contact so we don't know what happened to her in those last moments," Coco said.
Shaumari's family wants to focus on carrying out their dreams now, just like she would want them to. Her sister, Shante Lott, said she almost gave up on her dream of becoming a musician, had it not been for Shaumari.
"I’m so glad that I had the time that I did with my sister," Shante said. "Without her I honestly would have not had the drive to continue to fight for my dream. I will never forget her telling me to actually do it. I promise to make it happen."
Shante said she and her sister would donate food and clothes to homeless people in the area because they loved to give back. Now, she's encouraging other people to be just like her.
"I can’t believe it. It's my little sister," she said. "We did everything together. I keep staying up and hoping she’ll just walk through my room door, just come in one more time."
Shaumari's 21st birthday would've been May 24. Coco said she had been talking about that big day before she even turned 20. They are planning a big celebration in her honor.
"She was an encourager. She wanted you to do better. She was a humble person, a giving person, a loving person," Coco said. "If all of us take little bits and pieces of what that young lady had to offer, we will be okay."
The 20-year-old, who loved Drake, and whose nickname was "MauriCakes" leaves behind a large family and a powerful legacy – one her family vows to live by every day.
"Her legacy said I am loving, I am caring, I am funny – but yet I can be very serious. Take that to heart. I’m going to live that until I meet her again," added Diane.
The family recently created a GoFundMe to help pay for Shaumari's final expenses.