PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A Pierce County man was hit and killed while driving home from work Monday night. Cops say the driver accused of hitting him was so drunk she thought she had hit a parked car.
“My father was a wonderful person,” Nathalee Gonzalez said in an interview Wednesday.
Gonzalez, 16, is now forced to live without her father, Jose Gonzalez Olaguez.
“A person who never missed out on a day of my life, a supporter,” Gonzalez said.
The teenager’s grief is caused, police say, by a young woman who got behind the wheel drunk.
Police say Kayla Marie Schmidt ran a red light in downtown Puyallup, slamming into the 46-year-old father's Honda sedan.
The impact was so powerful that Schmidt’s Dodge Ram is deeply lodged into the driver’s side of the Honda.
“I am traumatized with what I have to live with and deal with for the rest of my life,” Gonzalez said.
Schmidt, 24, pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday to a charge of vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Detectives say Schmidt was slurring her words when she admitted to drinking and driving Monday night.
“Before you sit in your car and turn that engine on, remember the life you may take away, what life you are breaking and what little girl’s heart you may break,” Gonzalez said.
Schmidt’s friends who showed up in court says the tragedy is a shock.
“This is very out of her character and this is something that I would ever imagine,” friend Erica Davies said.
Jose’s ex-wife says the $35,000 bail is too low but says she’s already forgiven Schmidt and harbors no hatred.
“She changed our life forever; she also changed her life forever,” ex-wife Maria Lopez said.
So many lives were shattered by one bad decision.
“Who is going to hold me as I open scholarships or presents on birthdays and Christmas,” Gonzalez said.