WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The day after 35-year-old Olivia Florez was killed in a hit-and-run in Winston-Salem, her family couldn’t bear the thought of her dying alone. Tonight, they know that wasn’t the case.
“There were people there, there was a witness there who was really nice too and he stayed with her,” said Florez’s half-sister, Tammy Woodel.
Police say around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2018, Florez was driving a Universal Taxi Cab when she pulled out of a shopping center and started southbound on New Walkertown Road. There, a 2006 Infiniti collided with Florez, killing her. The driver of the other car ran away before police could get there.
Family members say Florez was driving the cab to make more money for her children. At the time, her two girls were ages 2 and 15, and her stepsons were 10 and 11.
“Nothing will bring her back. And her kids won’t have a mom anymore,” Maria Ramirez, Florez’s stepsister, said through tears on Nov. 15.
On Friday, police announced an arrest in the case. Ravon Walser Rousseau, 26, who was already in the Forsyth County Detention Center on unrelated charges, now faces several additional charges in connection to Florez's death. They include second-degree murder, felony hit-and-run, speed competition, driving with license revoked, careless and reckless driving, fictitious tag, no insurance, passing in the center turn lane and exceeding the posted speed limit.
“He needs to be off the streets,” Woodel said, after speaking to investigators Tuesday morning. “He took something away from us that we can never get back.”
Although the last four months haven’t been easy, joy did come in the form of Florez's youngest daughter, Aleya, being baptized on March 8.
“We tried to do everything like she wanted,” Woodel said.
Woodel added that before her death, Florez had picked out the dress Aleya wore that day.
“Aleya was standing in the middle of the floor hollering mommy and that was difficult,” she recalled.
Aleya turned 3 in January. Florez's other daughter, Imani, turns 16 in April.
“She was only 35. She was our baby sister and she was more like my daughter,” Woodel said, of Florez.
Woodel added that their mother died when Florez was 3 years old. She is now writing a book about Florez – including some of their greatest memories – which Aleya will have to remember her by.
According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch, Rousseau is facing several other unrelated charges, including felony assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm, felony possession with intent to distribute cocaine, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving and resisting a public officer.
Rousseau was also initially charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder in June 2016, when two Winston-Salem officers radioed in saying they were taking on gunfire at city yard, where officers perform maintenance on and fill the gas tanks of their patrol vehicles. Officers responded and located Rousseau, as well as three handguns and drugs in the vicinity. Police later located the vehicle Rousseau was driving, where they found ammunition, firearm cases and paper targets. The discovery of the new evidence raised questions about if Rousseau was intentionally targeting the officers and his bond was reduced from $1,000,000 to $2,500. He was later released.
Rousseau is due in court to answer for the second-degree murder and hit-and-run charges on April 4.