By Florenz Legaspi, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
June 2, 2014
CHANDLER, AZ – Family and loved-ones gathered on Sunday in memory of 20-year old Filipina Ashley Adea and her boyfriend, Marine Sergeant Michael Ruquet, who were killed in a freak accident in Gilbert, Arizona two weeks ago.
Both died along Loop 202, after a wrong-way driver — 68-year old Patricia Murphy — rammed onto their car.
“I grew up with her. I have that bond with her that I can’t have with anybody else,” Allyson Adea, Ashley’s sister, said.
Serina Vallecillo, Ashley’s friend, added, “It’s kind of hard to think that she’s really gone.”
“She’s a beautiful person, always there for you,” shared Britanny Hines, another friend of Ashley’s. “She was an excellent friend.”
To this day, they could not believe that in one instant, Ashley and Michael are gone.
“This is unbelievable. It’s just so horrible…like a nightmare and I can’t wake up,” Christine Ruquet, Michael’s mother said, sobbing.
Arthur Lasco, Michael’s friend, expressed, “He was such a close friend, such a great guy.”
Court documents showed Murphy tested positive for benzodiazepine and opiates and had the blood-alcohol level over two times the legal limit. Michael’s mother, Christina, said, weeping, “How dare she take two beautiful babies away from us?”
People broke into tears during the memorial service as Ashley’s father, who declined to be interviewed, danced with her favorite stuffed toy to the tune of his daughter’s favorite song.
“As a father, it’s devastating for him. However, he’s doing his best so he can cope with this tragedy that happened to our family,” Paul Adea, Ashley’s uncle related.
Meantime, the Department of Public Safety said that Murphy, the wrong-way driver, is still in the hospital and charges will be filed against her after her release. Arizona’s Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Office on Highway Safety reiterated their commitment to enforce existing laws on impaired and distracted driving.