SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – A South Sioux City family shared their grief after a beloved wife and mother was killed by a drunk driver Monday night.
The family of Antonia Lopez De Ramirez spoke with KCAU 9 as we learn new details about the woman accused of killing her.
The 19-year-old suspect allegedly hit Ramirez with her car, driving with a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.
Hilario Ramirez was just blocks away when he got the call that his mother had been hit by a car. He made it to the scene moments later and held her as she took her final breaths.
“My mom was pretty much unconscious, really barely breathing. It was her last ounces of breath. All I could do is touch her hand for the last time, feel how cold it was, and just lift up before I got into shock,” said her son Hilario Ramirez.
It’s a pain many people in South Sioux City are feeling as Antonia was a beloved, longtime member of the community.
“Everyone loved my mom, she never said anything bad about anyone, just a great Catholic lady who cooked food for everyone,” Ramirez said. “She was at church nearly every other day.”
Its where she was just moments before the crash that took her life.
“She was just walking back from church, she went to go confess herself, she took her last sacrament and she was killed on the way home,” he said.
Ramirez and authorities initially left wondering who was responsible.
“It was a nightmare, I felt like we weren’t ever going to find this person, I felt like you know, somebody murdered my mom and just thought it was ok to drive off,” he said.
Then police in Sioux City arresting 19-year-old Maria Gonzalez Diego for an OWI.
“I didn’t think I was going to see that person, even though 20 minutes after my mom died, I saw that person in the hospital getting a blood test,” he said.
While he didn’t know it at the time, Ramirez was in the ER with the suspect.
“She was smiling, that’s how intoxicated and drunk she was,” Ramirez said.
Police say preliminary test reveal she had a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit.
“I hope that she realizes that what she did is wrong. She took a lot of people’s best friends, she took my mom. She took someone’s life,” he said.
Monday’s fatal crash is the 19-year-old suspect’s third charge of driving under the influence this year. Her most recent arrest was exactly one week before the fatal collision.