TACOMA, Wash. – A Washington state family is reeling after a head-on collision took the lives of seven relatives, including five children, as they drove outside of Burns, Oregon, headed for a vacation in Las Vegas.
On Monday morning, 29-year-old Erika Boquet 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.
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.
Erika Boquet's grandfather, Frank Williams, said his Tacoma home has always been a gathering place for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“They always come around, ‘Papa! Papa this and Papa that,’” said Williams, fondly recalling memories he shared with his granddaughter 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,” Williams said.
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.