More than 100 family members and friends held a candlelight vigil in southeast Portland on Monday night to honor a local woman killed by an alleged drunken driver.
Portland police say LaShai Williams, 20, had been drinking when she ran a red light early Sunday morning near Southeast 122nd and Stark and hit another car. Billie Pugh, a passenger in the other car, was killed. Pugh's husband, Brandon, was injured. He's since been released from the hospital.
Pugh's family told FOX 12 that they were overwhelmed by the number of people who came to Monday night's vigil to honor Billie.
Pugh was a loving mother of three children and an all-around great person who cared for everyone, her husband said.
"It's been horrible. I mean, it's the last thing I thought would ever happen," said Bill McCullough, Billie's father. "You're not supposed to bury your children. You're not."
Pugh had been feeling down after a friend's death several weeks ago, so her husband decided to try to cheer her up on Saturday night by taking her out with some friends, he told FOX 12.
On their way to a bar early Sunday morning, another vehicle ran a red light and hit their car, Pugh's husband said. He woke up several minutes later, and his wife of three years was gone, he added.
"Certain moments, it just hits me," said Lori Guidicatti, Pugh's aunt. "It just hits me so hard. And I still can't believe it. I still can't believe it."
Portland police arrested Williams on several charges, including second-degree manslaughter and reckless driving. She made her first court appearance on Monday.
Williams and Pugh might be extended relatives, family members said.
"I feel for the family of LaShai, as well," McCullough said. "They're not going to have their daughter with them for a while, too, hopefully."
Pugh was a loving person who was full of ambition, McCullough said. His focus now is making sure her children remember the remarkable life she lived and know that part of her will always live on inside them.
"A lot of love and support," he said. "That's all we can do is love them and support them and help them through this and never let them forget her. We are not going to forget her. Ever."
Williams' next court appearance is set for May 7.
A memorial service for Pugh is scheduled for May 11, McCullough said.
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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