The sister of a woman killed in a drunk driving accident in Rialto with her 8-year-old daughter says the girl’s father lost his life in an instant, including the family dog who was also in the car.
“She was amazing. The best mom to Marlee. Marlee was her whole world. She would do anything for her,” Haley Labrada said.
She portrayed her 33-year-old sister, Ashley Gilroy, and Ashley’s 8-year-old daughter, Marlee Maldonado.
“Marlee had so much light. She was so smart,” Labrada said. “She always said she wanted to be a scientist and they were good people and I want everyone to know that.”
Both were so loved and cherished by their family.
“My sister is so selfless. I got engaged after her and she didn’t want to take the spotlight away from me even though she got engaged first and she helped me plan my whole wedding, that’s exactly the kind nobody she was,” Labrada said. .
Monday evening around 6.30pm, Gilroy and Marlee and their dog Phoebe were driving home to Highland after spending the day with Gilroy’s older sister who still lives in their childhood home in Rialto.
Police said she and Marlee were waiting to turn at the intersection of Valley and Riverside when a jeep traveling at 80 to 100 mph slammed into them, causing an explosion.
The fireball was so intense that the Good Samaritans couldn’t save anyone.
“We searched and searched. Her phone was going straight to voicemail. And the whole time she was two blocks from my older sister’s house. We had no idea until we We were filing a missing person report, and then Rialto PD got in touch with my brother-in-law and asked him to come to the police department so they could tell him in person,” Labrada said.
Officers gave Rocky Maldonado, Gilroy’s fiancé and Marlee’s father, the devastating news.
“His whole life was in that car until his dog,” she said. “He can go home with nothing now and that’s what I want people to know.”
Investigators say the driver of the Jeep, Paul Larios, 35, also died at the scene.
They say he hit other vehicles just before hitting Gilroy’s car.
The driver may have been drinking because officers say they found beer cans in the Jeep.
“Something has to be done because the families going through this will remember this for the rest of their lives,” Labrada said. “An 8-year-old child was taken from us. She had her whole life ahead of her.”
Labrada created a GoFundMe to help pay for a special memorial for his sister and niece. Search for “RAM Family Memorial”. By Wednesday night, he had raised about half of his $30,000 goal.
“And I just hope they weren’t in pain at all,” Labrada said.