TACOMA, Wash. -- “I love you so much man,” said one brother to another as they grieved the loss of their sister, Erika Boquet, and nieces and nephews who were all killed in a car crash outside of Burns, Oregon, on Monday morning.
The Tacoma home of Frank Williams has always been a gathering place for his grandkids and great-grandkids.
“They always come around, ‘Papa! Papa this and Papa that,’” said Williams, fondly recalling memories he shared with his granddaughter Erika Boquet and her three children.
“She’s a beautiful person with three beautiful kids she was raising. She was doing all she could to raise not only her kids but help the entire community of Tacoma,” said Williams.
On Monday morning, 29-year-old Erika Boquet, of Tacoma, and her three young children, Isabella Boquet, 11; Elisabeth Boquet, 9; and Tytis Boquet, 6, were driving to Las Vegas for a family vacation with three other relatives --Kyla Brown, 28, of Olympia, Arianna Brown, 10, and Xavier Johnson, 2.
According to Oregon State Police, around 10 a.m. Monday, an oncoming SUV suddenly veered into their lane and crashed into them head-on, killing that driver and all seven people in Boquet’s car.
“Took my family, all my family away,” said Jessie Tate, Boquet’s brother.
He says his sister was all about family and teaching her children to put others first.
“She wants to help everybody. She understands that people struggle and she struggled in her life and she wants to make sure people didn’t struggle like she did,” said Tate.
Two weeks ago, Boquet was at Williams’ home, asking her grandfather if she could borrow his truck so she could load it with backpacks that she and her children gathered to donate to those less fortunate.
“She was always doing something,” said Williams.
“It’s hard to fathom,” he added.
Williams says this house won’t be the same without Boquet and her kids coming through.
“All I can say is she loved life and she loved people,” said Williams.
The family is raising money through a Go Fund Me account to help bring the bodies back to Tacoma.
On Wednesday, family and friends will be holding a candlelight vigil for the victims at a park on 23rd and Grant in Tacoma.