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Community remembers Rochester woman killed in crash

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) — A large memorial has formed along a fence off of 12th Street SE in Rochester where a bright, young life was cut too short.

Eighteen- year-old Erika Cruz of Rochester died as the result of a car crash Tuesday night at the intersection of 8th Avenue SE and 12th Street SE in Rochester.

The Rochester Police Department said Sterling Haukom, 34, of Rochester was driving under the influence of alcohol and was speeding when his pickup truck crashed into Cruz’s car.

Both vehicles hit a power pole and then slid into the fence that surrounds Lincoln K-8 Choice School. Cruz was taken to Saint Marys Hospital where she died.

According to a fundraising page set up in honor of Cruz, she was returning home from work when the crash happened, and was only two blocks away from her home.

On the page, her family and friends describe her as, “One of the smartest, most loving, caring, passionate, motivated, inspiring, intelligent people we’ve ever known in our lives.”

They went on to say that Cruz was the kind of person that you could learn something from and that “heaven gained a new angel.”

Cruz was a graduate of Mayo High School, and she was set to start college. One of her passions was fitness, and she had a page where she posted her workouts.

Haukom is charged with criminal vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Megan Zemple

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