‘Diana would not want us to feel angry or hate’: Mother of fatal wrong-way crash victim holds no ill feelings toward suspect

Diana Rubio loved everyone and is described as being a free spirit

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio mother said she has no ill feelings towards the suspected drunk driver who caused the death of both her daughter and another woman.

The family said Daniela Lute, 25, was taking Diana Rubio, 26, home when the crash happened along I-35 near Walzem Road early Saturday morning.

San Antonio police said suspected drunk driver Ricardo Rodriguez, 58, crashed head-on into the women, killing them on impact.

Laura Rubio, Diana Rubio’s mother, said she was devastated by the news.

“The way she went out, I believe, was the best way because it was fast, and she didn’t suffer. I couldn’t handle it if she would have suffered,” Laura Rubio said as she wept.

The family describes Diana Rubio as a free spirit.

“She was a strong woman,” said Andy Rubio, her younger brother. “She was a caring person. She was a loving person. She was a person you could not help but to love. Everybody loved her. Her friends would fight over her.”

“She was intellectual,” said Karla Rubio, her younger sister. “She was very intellectual, but she was funny. She knew a lot, and she made sure you knew that. Her best friend would say love flowed from her. Love traveled through her.”

Ainan Bauvas, Diana’s oldest brother, said this loss hit him hard.

“I have traveled all over the place and been all over, and she was always there,” he said as he wept. “She was my rock, she really was. She was always present, and she was stubbornly insistent -- in a loving way, though. She was just the heart of all of us.”

Bauvas said his sister’s spirit pulled them out of their shells often.

“She was a role model in the sense that she didn’t care what society thought,” Bauvas said. “Whether it was weird or whatever, she was going to sing. She was going to dance. It was so inspirational, and I really admired her for that. I am pretty accomplished, but when I look at her, I think, ‘Damn, she is good.’”

With Diana Rubio’s passing, the family said that her life is even more motivating for them.

“She did everything she wanted to do,” Laura Rubio said. “She made sure everyone she cared about was taken care of. She lived all over the place, but she was still so family-oriented.”

Laura Rubio said there is one memory in particular that made her realize how special her daughter was.

“When she was 2-years-old, she was barely walking. We were playing volleyball at the gym, and the janitor was waiting for us to finish. He was supposed to be the one to lock up, but he was sitting on the floor just watching the games,” Laura Rubio said. “Diana walked over to him, and all she did was touch his face. Just touched his face so soft and sweet, and you could feel the warmth that made had come over him. Everybody that she touched -- she had that feeling of warmth and good, and just being in her presence was amazing. I am going to miss that so much.”

The family said Diana had friends from all over.

“I just want to know everybody she knew because they all had a good memory with her,” Andy Rubio said. “I just want to experience the good times she left behind.”

“To her, everyone is family,” Bauvas said. “We are all part of this experience together, no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Isabella Rodriguez was one of Diana Rubio’s many best friends.

“There is not one way to describe her other than really kind,” Rodriguez said. “She would always say -- anytime someone was being mean or not, in the best attitude, she would say you never know what people are going through. She would always just walk around with a smile and was so optimistic. She was gone way too soon.”

Her loved ones said they hope this loss of life puts the focus on the major problem, which is intoxicated driving.

“You just have to be responsible and considerate because it is not just you on the roads,” Isabella Rodriguez said. “There are many people and many lives that you can affect.”

“He is going to remember what he did to these beautiful women, and he is going to know it could have been prevented,” said Laura Rubio. “We shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t be saying our goodbyes. But I don’t have any ill things to say to him because I know he is going to be suffering from what he did. He is going to suffer from the memories he has of that night. He has to live with this. And no matter what, Diana would not want us to feel angry or hate towards him.”

The family also hopes Diana Rubio’s memories encourage them to cherish life in general.

“She would tell everyone to do what they wanted to do,” said Sophia Rubio, her younger sister. “She would say make a decision and be proud of it no matter what it is. She built everything she had and was from the ground up beautifully.”

“Life is short,” Laura Rubio said. “Enjoy everything you have. Enjoy your family while they are here because, when they are gone, you can only enjoy the time they were here, which would only be a memory.”


About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.