ORLANDO, Fla. - After her husband was killed by a suspected drunken driver early Saturday morning, Jessica Aksu has a message for anyone who thinks about getting behind the wheel after having a beer or other alcoholic drinks.
"Do not drink and drive," she said. "All of my friends, we've been there and we've taken an Uber. We didn't decide somebody else's life wasn't as important as ours."
Aksu's husband, Matthew Pasciucco, was killed when troopers say 22-year-old Yamil Salazar Rodriguez failed to stop and slammed his Mercedes into Pasciucco's sedan at a red light on Universal Boulevard at the intersection of Destination Parkway.
"We were driving home and we had taken separate cars because we went straight from work to meet up for dinner," Aksu explained. "We were at a red light. I was right next to him in the left lane. We had been at the light for awhile. It's not like it just turned red. And then all of a sudden, I hear a boom. And I look up and there's his car in flames in front of me."
Aksu and her friends were able to pull Pasciucco from his car, but it was too late.
"It only took one second and he was gone, I'm never going to see him again," she said. "To hit him, you had to be absolutely drunk not to see us stopped there. It's not worth it. Everyone likes to have a good time. I get that. But you have to be responsible and be accountable for your actions."
The 22 year old accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed 26-year-old Matthew Pasciucco is out on bond - while family and friends of Pasciucco posted this sign. @news6wkmg https://t.co/ZmlFQdSXI3 pic.twitter.com/7B33XgSgbS — Clay LePard (@ClayLePard) May 27, 2018
According to Salazar Rodriguez's arrest report, Rodriguez had a strong smell of alcohol when he was found outside a nearby hotel. Troopers said Salazar Rodriguez repeatedly made comments that he should not have been driving drunk. At one point, troopers said Rodriguez called his mother and said, "I was drunk and I killed someone."
Salazar Rodriguez is out on $20,000 bond while he waits for his next court appearance. ahe faces charges including DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
"I just want Matt back," Aksu said. "Nothing can bring him back. I know it wasn't intentional but we're all responsible for our actions and it wasn't a responsible thing to do. Since the day we're born, you've heard don't drink and drive, don't drink and drive. Why do you think you're an exception to that rule? My husband is gone because of that and I'm never going to see him again."
Aksu, along with friends and family, have set up a makeshift memorial at the intersection where Pasciucco was killed, with a sign that reads "Don't drink and drive for Matt." They hope a permanent sign can eventually be placed at that intersection.
Pasciucco's father described his son to News 6 as an amazing son and husband, with a special talent for drawing cartoons.
"The most loving person," Aksu added. "He accepts anybody and everybody."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Pasciucco's family. You can donate here.
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