There was an outpouring of love and support for Martha Villalobos Monday night during a curbside vigil on Third Avenue and L Street in Chula Vista where she was killed by a wrong-way driver.
“She was just so selfless. She always put everybody before herself,” her daughter Stephanie Villalobos said before the vigil.
The 57-year-old grandmother’s selfless act for her grandchildren met the selfish act of what police say was a wrong-way driver in a Ford Mustang, speeding through a red light at the intersection.
"My whole family is suffering for the loss of my mother who wasn't doing anything wrong," Stephanie Villalobos, 22, said.
Stephanie Villalobos said her mother cherished caring for her grandchildren, which is what she was doing Saturday evening around 6 p.m. when the crash happened.
According to family, Martha Villalobos was returning from treating two of her grandchildren to McDonald’s, as she often did. Though the kids survived the wreck, their grandmother never made it back home.
“A stupid decision is what took her,” a frustrated Stephanie Villalobos said, adding that her mother survived multiple heart surgeries and health problems, including COVID-19.
The Chula Vista Police Department said the deadly decision was made by 22-year-old Alonso Pina, who'll be charged with vehicular manslaughter once released from the hospital.
“They took a big part of me and I don't wish this pain on literally anybody. But I also don't think it's fair for them to live free," said Stephanie Villalobos.
Thinking about her future, she noted, “What pains me the most is that my kids will never meet her or never feel the love that she had for all her grandkids."
Martha Villalobos' love was on display in pictures her daughter posted on social media. One of them showed the mother beaming with pride after her daughter recently graduated from UC San Diego.
And while she got a valuable education there, she said one of her mother’s lessons is what she’s thinking about most after her untimely death.
“When mom was in car with me and we were at a stop light, she would say wait three seconds after a green light because there are always people who don’t pay attention and run red lights. It literally isn’t until now that I understand why she said what she said," Stephanie Villalobos said.
Stephanie Villalobos now wishes she had more time with her mother, especially that fateful Saturday night when she had to go to work.
“I wish that I’d hugged my mom a little tighter. If I knew that was the last time I would see her. And so I just wish everybody could hug your moms a little tighter for me."
The crash that killed Marth Villalobos was on of six crashes in the last week involving head-on collisions.