Community honors 18-year-old killed in fatal crash

Rachel Mills
Created: February 26, 2021 06:52 PM

(ABC 6 News) - After the fatal accident at the corner of 8th Ave. and 12th St. SE on Tuesday, 18-year-old Erika Cruz of Rochester is being honored by her community. 

"She's just such a... ambitious and a go-getter in life. Like someone at her age of 18. I haven't really seen that before," John Meyer, Ace Athletics owner, said. 

Cruz was just starting her fitness career.  She was hired a few weeks ago at Ace Athletics' nutrition shack. Meyer said Cruz was in their gym everyday. 

"She was someone that just brought a lot of light into this gym. Was a really big part of the culture and the community here. Every single one of our members truly knows who she is," Meyer said. 

After her death from the crash involving 34-year-old Sterling Haukom, people at her gym began planning a 20-foot mural on the gym wall in her honor. The same artist that painted the other walls of the gym will be creating a piece of art dedicated to Cruz and the things she loved. 

"It'll be a portrait of her and then going off on each side will be things that represent who she was as a person," Meyer said. 

Meyer said the portrait will include roses, her favorite flower. There were plenty of them lining the fence at the scene of the crash. 

"Inspiring, smart, beautiful, caring person. She always brought people smiles, even if she didn't know them you know," Lisbeth Navarro, a friend of Cruz, said. 

Cruz also worked at the Trader Joe's in Rochester. She frequently posted to her fitness Instagram page offering workout and diet advice - trying to inspire others to live long healthy lives.

"I don't really have words really right now, it's hard to come up with much. It's just a really hard grieving time for us and all of our members really," Meyer said.  

Copyright 2021 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company