SAUGUS, MASS. (WHDH) - Griefstricken family members of a 19-year-old Lynn woman are identifying her as the person killed in a wrong-way crash with a robbery suspect in Saugus on Wednesday morning.
“A mother shouldn’t be burying a child,” Michelle Luongo said after learning of the death of her daughter, Ashley Forward. “She’s too young for this, she was going to go so far.”
Officers responding to a report of an unarmed robbery at a 7-Eleven on Lincoln Avenue around 10:50 a.m. learned the suspect, later identified as 35-year-old William Leger, of Somerville, had fled the store in a vehicle, according to the Saugus Police Department.
Leger then led officers on a brief pursuit that was terminated when he turned onto Route 107 and started driving south in the northbound lanes, police added.
After driving for about a half-mile, Leger reportedly slammed head-on into Forward, who was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Leger was arrested and taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Charges against him are currently being sought by Massachusetts State Police.
Video from SKY7 HD showed a debris field in the roadway as investigators worked at the scene.
Forward, who lived just three miles from where she was struck, graduated from high school last year. She recently wrapped up her freshman year at Emmanuel College and had dreams of becoming a nurse, according to family.
“She was taken so early. Why didn’t she have a chance to fight for her life? Why?” Luongo asked as she fought back tears. “Now I have to tell my 10-year-old that the sister she looks up to and wants to be like is not around anymore.”
Pat Luongo, Ashley’s grandmother, said her granddaughter was on her way to visit her.
“She called and said, ‘Nana, I’m coming by,'” Pat said.
Forward’s cousin, Alexis Krzywicki, said, “We weren’t even cousins, we were like sisters…I don’t know what I’m going to do without her.”
Forward is now being remembered as a cheerleader, a softball player, and a young woman who loved life and adored her family.
Troopers assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s Office are assisting Saugus police with an investigation.
The Luongo family says they plan to be present in court when Leger faces a judge.
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