Family, friends of I-35 crash victim speak out
AUSTIN, Texas (KEYE) - Friends and family members of 23-year-old Ashley Martinez want you to remember her as the ambitious, hard-working mother of her 2-year-old daughter, and not as the victim of a fiery crash on I-35.
"Definitely all of those good times together," said Robert Martinez, Ashley's brother. "She was always bright, just as much as her future."
Officials have not yet released the names of the two people killed in the crash last week, but Ashley's family says she is one of the victims.
Friends say she is gone too early.
"I was just devastated. I was crying real bad, saying it wasn't true," said Amber Hernandez.
When you walk up to Ashley Martinez's family's home, you will see cars filling the driveway and nearby street.
Friends say her family needs all the support they can get right now.
"I wish I could just go back and hug her one last time," said Aydee Garcia.
Ashley Martinez was juggling life as a mother of her young daughter, Gabby, working, and going to school, with hopes of starting a career in the medical field.
One of her friends, who was also a roommate at one time, says you could tell she was very driven to improve her and her daughter's lives.
"She continued to be strong. She continued to be a role model. She was my role model," said Sabrina Martz.
Robert Martinez was Ashley's older brother.
He says he always tried being a role model for his little sister growing up.
But over the last few years, those roles changed, and she became an inspiration for him.
In the days since her death, friends and family say they've been flooded with support from the community.
They say this will be important moving forward, especially for Gabby.
"She misses her mom," Martinez said. "Looking beyond our own pain, and seeing that we have to be strong for her child and very accepting of any support we receive that in. It's going to be very important going forward."
There is a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for Ashley Martinez's funeral.