SEATTLE — The woman killed in a multi-vehicle crash in north Seattle Tuesday has been identified as 27-year-old Jessica Valdez.
Valdez leaves behind three children. Her birthday would have been on Friday. Family members told KOMO News Wednesday they are in a state of devastation and grief.
"It's an out of body experience," said Denika Trujillo, Valdez's sister. "You wanna call them and you realize you can’t call them anymore."
Valdez was one of three people hurt Tuesday when a man accused of operating a forklift while intoxicated entered Aurora Avenue North at 96th Street and collided with an SUV, which then hit a landscape truck.
Valdez was the passenger in the SUV. She and the driver were taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical and serious condition. Valdez died on the way to the hospital, her family told KOMO News.
RELATED: Several bottles of alcohol pulled from wreckage in deadly forklift accident in Seattle
"She brought everyone smiles and she brought everyone laughter. She was always a ‘get getter’ girl," said Eddie Estrada, Valdez's brother-in-law.
A memorial has been set up and is growing for Valdez near the crash site. Her family has been spending time there as they process what has happened.
"We’re gonna do a small candlelight vigil for her. We have a lot of friends and family that want to show support, so we thought we’d come back where she was and be together," said Trujillo.
The 30-year-old driver of the landscape truck was reported to be in stable condition Tuesday following the crash. The 54-year-old man driving the forklift was arrested at the scene and sustained only minor injuries.
A day after the accident, KOMO News obtained a picture that shows police arresting the forklift operator.
In the photograph, a police officer next to the suspect is holding several alcohol bottles, which police said had just been retrieved from the forklift.
Witnesses told KOMO they also observed alcohol bottles being seized from the wreckage.
"There were two big bottles of vodka and some juice to go with it," said Edwin Acevado. "When I saw it, I was like, ‘oh my god, I hope this guy didn’t cause the accident."
Police said Wednesday that the forklift operator ended up going to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. They added that he is expected to be booked into the King County Jail Wednesday evening and could face charges of vehicular homicide.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said Valdez was 25 years old, that age was from Seattle police and her family has since confirmed to KOMO she was 27 years old.