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Officer Katie Thyne's Family: 'She Didn't Have To Die. It's A Nightmare'

NASHUA, N.H. (CBS) -- The family of Virginia police officer Katie Thyne gathered in southern New Hampshire Friday night to mourn their beloved family member.

"She had her whole life ahead of her," said Cassie Thyne-Fenlon, Thyne's aunt.

Thursday night, Thyne and another officer stopped a car. The driver suddenly took off, dragging Thyne until he hit a tree, killing her. The driver was arrested.

The chief of the Newport News, Virginia, police force held an emotional news conference about his officer Friday.

"Officer Thyne is our family, and that's how she will be treated and remembered," said Police Chief Steve Drew.

Katie Thyne and her 2-year-old daughter. (Photo Courtesy: Cassie Thyne-Fenlon)

Thyne grew up in Dracut and Hudson, New Hampshire, where she graduated high school in 2013. After high school, she joined the Navy.

Driven by a desire to serve her community, the 24-year-old became a police officer last June.

"A lot of the family told her not to and tried to talk her out of it. And Katie just wanted to do what she wanted to do," Thyne-Fenlon said.

Her family now keeps replaying their last conversation with her.

"She texted all of us yesterday with a picture of the engagement ring and said that her finance would now be a Patriots fan and we laughed and we joked and then she went to work," Thyne-Fenlon said.

Thyne got engaged last weekend, and her daughter recently turned two.

"She didn't have to die. She didn't have to die. It's a nightmare," Thyne-Fenlon said.

Instead of helping her plan the future, Thyne's family is left wondering how to cope without her.

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