Friends and family of a San Carlos woman killed by a suspected drunken driver gathered at the foot of Cowles Mountain Thursday to honor her in her favorite spot.
“She was an amazing woman and she loved life and she loved her kids, she loved her family and she loved this mountain,” said Victor Leamon of his wife, Rocio.
Rocio died exactly a week ago when she was hit as she crossed Navajo Road on her way to Cowles – a trip she made every day. That day, she was returning to the mountain for a second time when she was killed.
A memorial of flowers and photographs mark the spot where the crash happened. The memorial included a hat like the one she always wore on her daily hikes.
At the evening vigil, those who loved Rocio – many clad in white -- gathered to swap stories about the mother of three.
“This is exactly what she would have wanted, just to have everybody together,” said Victor. “She was really good at pulling people together, and it looks like that's what's happened tonight."
Victor, who recently celebrated his 20-year anniversary with Rocio, said they were at the best place in their lives, “very very happy.” He also wanted to thank everyone who has given him and his three sons an outpouring of support.
“It’s a real emotional roller coaster,” he told NBC 7. “It's tough to deal with. It just comes and goes; just little things set me off. I really just want to kind of get some closure and move forward with my boys and make the best life possible for them without her.”
Part of the roller coaster was attending the arraignment of the man accused of killing her, Joshua Daniel Taylor. He is being held on a $2 million bond, charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing injury.
Taylor pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say he has two prior DUI convictions and at the time of the fatal crash last week, he had a blood alcohol content of nearly four times the legal limit.
Victor did not want to talk about the legal proceedings or the suspect, but he did have this to say: "Just don't drink and drive. I know everybody's done it. We know. It's just a decision that you make and it's not a good one and it affects a lot of people when somebody dies and something this tragic happens.”
Friends of the family and complete strangers have donated to a GoFundMe account in Rocio's memory.