Three weeks ago, on October 27th, the lives of a local family changed forever after an accused drunk driver slammed head-on into their vehicle.
Joshuah Fruge died as result.
“He was a father. And a husband. And an uncle. And a brother,” said his sister Heather Hammond. “He was somebody’s best friend. He was somebody’s only friend.”
His family shared with NBC 6 News what unfolded that night in an effort to make everyone aware that Joshuah was much more than an accident victim, and so the man responsible is held accountable.
Hammond is still dealing with grief and guilt from the night he died.
“Because I was so close. I was right there,” she said as she describes her proximity to the accident scene. “That maybe I could have done something.”
But she couldn’t. No one could.
Joshuah, his wife Veronica and their son, Pacey, were driving on Barksdale Boulevard after leaving the State Fair of Louisiana when it happened.
“When I came to there was just smoke coming in the car,” said Veronica Fruge.
Larry Daughtry, of Katy, Texas, had hit them head-on. Blood alcohol tests show he was intoxicated.
Veronica called Heather right after it happened.
“It was just chaos. Complete chaos,” said Hammond. “It’s just devastating. It’s ripped our whole family apart.”
Veronica and Josh were life partners. Together for 17 years. Married for eight.
The weeks that have followed the accident have brought a wave of emotions.
“Somebody just ripped your life apart. And you go from being very upset to being very very mad,” said Veronica.
In her family’s home she’s had to rearrange furniture, and take down family pictures to help her cope.
“It’s just a flip of the coin what emotion you are going to feel from minute to minute,” she said.
One of the emotions is indignation. She and Heather both feel it.
They want justice for Josh, to see his accused killed be held accountable.
“I want to see him punished,” said Veronica. “I don’t necessarily think he’s a horrible person, but you have to be held accountable for the things you do.”
Veronica is thankful for her family, who has stayed with her and her son day and night during the most difficult time in her life.
But she longs for Josh.
She says there’s one more thing she’d tell him, if she had the chance.
“That I love him,” she said. “That I love him.”
Meanwhile, Pacey is healing, but Veronica says he’s still wearing a cervical collar due to the accident.
Daughtry is due in court on January 2nd.
It’s expected he’ll enter an initial plea to a vehicular homicide charge. NBC 6 News will be there when he does.