A Filipino American community leader in Virginia was fatally hit by a pickup truck whose driver has been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
Rosa Blanco, 76, and another unidentified woman, 79, were walking a crosswalk near Constitution Drive at Virginia Beach Town Center when Nathan Poole, 24, crashed into them with his vehicle at around 4 p.m. on Aug. 22.
Virginia Beach police officers responded to the scene where Blanco was immediately pronounced dead. The other victim, who reportedly suffered from broken ribs and a fractured foot, is now in stable condition at a hospital.
Poole, who stayed at the scene of the incident, was arrested for DUI after officers said they smelled marijuana in his truck. He allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana before driving.
He was reportedly denied bond on Tuesday. The investigation into this incident is ongoing. Additional charges for Poole are currently pending.
Blanco, who immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. in the 1970s, served in leadership roles in organizations, including the Filipino Women’s Club of Tidewater as a former president and the Council of United Filipino Organizations of Tidewater (CUFOT) as treasurer.
“Auntie Rosa was probably one of the most dedicated individuals in our entire Filipino community [in Hampton Roads],” CUFOT Chairman Dr. Cynthia Romero told 13News Now.
Blanco also taught math in Norfolk and Virginia Beach schools. She is remembered for her dedication, generosity and loving spirit.
Along with volunteers, Romero hopes to reopen the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia, which is an institution that Blanco helped build along with other families.
“We’re all grieving the loss of a strong community member and a friend,” Romero said. “To honor her, by opening and having the opportunity to gather everyone again just like she wanted.”
The Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) is asking witnesses of the crash or those who have any information regarding this case to contact the VBPD Special Operations Bureau at 757-385-4606.