SAUGUS (CBS) – Nineteen-year-old Ashley Forward from Lynn was killed Wednesday morning when police say a robbery suspect crashed into her car. The suspect, identified as 35-year-old William Leger of Somerville, was allegedly fleeing from officers and driving the wrong way on Route 107 in Saugus.
Ashley Forward turned 19 in April and got her driver’s license shortly after that. Her mom says she was heading home from her boyfriend’s in Malden before going to her job at Target in Medford.
“Everybody loved her,” said Michelle Luongo, Ashley’s mother. “She had a heart of gold.”
Just before 11 a.m., Saugus Police were called to 7-Eleven on Lincoln Ave. for a report of an unarmed robbery. While responding to the scene, an officer spotted the suspect’s car on Ballard Street.
Police said Leger led officers on a brief pursuit. A surveillance camera from a nearby business captured the suspect turning on Route 107 driving south in the northbound lanes.
Saugus Police said the officers that were following the car ended the pursuit when Leger started going the wrong way.
About a half mile later, Leger slammed head-on into a car being driven by Ashley Forward. She did not survive the crash.
Leger was arrested and taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Massachusetts State Police are still finalizing charges against him.
“I hope he gets what he deserves through the courts,” Luongo said. “I hope he doesn’t see another day in society.”
Ashley Forward graduated from high school last year and was a first year nursing student at Emmanuel College.
“She just went to school, got good grades and she was like, ‘mom I am going to go somewhere with my life,’” Luongo said. “And I said you know what make me proud because I didn’t go and she was living my dream.”
Ashley’s 10-year-old sister Jillian said, “she meant the world to me and taught me how to be a brave girl.”
Friends and family gathered by the ocean in Lynn Wednesday night to remember Ashley and support her boyfriend, Julio Cora. “She was just beautiful,” Cora said. “As a person and her personality, it was beautiful.”
The crash is being investigated by State Police, Saugus Police and the Essex District Attorney’s office.
Route 107 was closed in both directions in the area of the crash, which happened between Ballard Street and Brown Circle.