Mother killed while driving cab to save for daughter’s birthday, baptism

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Family members and friends are mourning a North Carolina mother of four after she was killed while driving a taxi Wednesday.

“She loved her babies. That’s why she was doing this, is for extra money,” said Tammy Woodel, Olivia Florez’s half-sister.

Police say around 7:30 p.m., 35-year-old Florez was driving a Universal Taxi Cab when she pulled out of a shopping center and started southbound on New Walkertown Road.

Another vehicle, a 2006 Infiniti, was traveling northbound on New Walkertown Road. For reasons police did not know at the early stages of their investigation, the vehicles collided and Florez died at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle ran away before police could get there.

“Did they even check on her? Did she say anything? Did she say anything? Did she have any last words?” Woodel asked while speaking with WGHP Thursday, surrounded by family members gathered in the kitchen and living room.

Woodel said Florez was a mother of two girls, ages 15 and 2, and a stepmother to two boys, ages 11 and 10.

“Nothing will bring her back. And her kids won’t have a mom anymore,” Maria Ramirez, Florez’s stepsister, said through tears.

“[Those kids are going to] have plenty of mamas,” Woodel responded. “Just like we did.”

Woodel said that Florez was driving the cab to save money for her youngest daughter’s birthday and baptism, which would take place in a couple months.

“When she didn’t have money to even help, she would say, ‘OK, I’ll help, I’ll pay for this. I’ll figure it out,’” Woodel said, when asked to describe her sister. “If she had to go pawn her rings to get the money to help somebody else she would.”

As the family prepares to say their final goodbyes, they are also asking that the person who ran from the other vehicle come forward. Hopefully, they say, with answers only that person can provide.

“We don’t think they done it on purpose, but you know, they need to make it right,” Woodel said. “They were there when we couldn’t be there.”

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