TEMPLE — The boyfriend of Keila Ruby Flores — killed Saturday when a rock hit her in a car he was driving — said he appreciated someone who stopped to help him during the tragedy.
Flores, a 33-year-old Hewitt mother, her three children and her boyfriend Christopher Rodriguez were driving through Temple on Interstate 35 when a large rock crashed through the windshield Saturday night.
The rock hit Flores in the head, critically wounding her.
“As I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, I look to my right and see Keila lying in the passenger seat, unconscious,” Rodriguez said Monday.
Flores died at 10:32 a.m. Sunday at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple.
The Temple Police Department is investigating the death as a homicide.
The incident happened about 8:41 p.m. Saturday in a northbound lane between exits 303 and 305. The rock hit the vehicle near the 2600 block of I-35 and Belair Drive. Flores, her children and Rodriguez were traveling to Hewitt after they visited a relative in Round Rock, Rodriguez said.
No suspect has been identified by police. An autopsy was ordered.
Rodriguez said he immediately dialed 911 and took the next exit after the rock hit Flores. He was on the phone with a dispatcher when a bystander passed him. Rodriguez flagged the man down, and the unknown man stayed with him until paramedics arrived.
“I never got the bystander’s name and I forgot to thank him personally for assisting me,” Rodriguez said.
Flores, described as “happy-go-lucky” by Rodriguez, has three children, ages 6, 12 and 14.
She was a strong and independent woman who provided for her children and “always had a smile on her face no matter what the situation was,” Rodriguez said. “She was a very hard worker and made sure that she got done what needed to be done.”
Rodriguez and Flores had been in a relationship for two years. She enjoyed collecting Funko Pops figures.
“Doesn’t seem long but we enjoyed every minute we had together and lived life to the fullest,” Rodriguez said.
Other rock-throwing incidents have been reported along I-35 in Texas in recent years.
Law enforcement agencies spent more than two years trying to find out who was responsible for more than 100 rock-throwing incidents going back to 2014. It was first thought the rocks came from someone standing on an overpass, but it turned out an Austin man threw the rocks from a moving car, according to media reports.
Patrick Johnson received a 40-year sentence after he pleaded guilty in 2017 to four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the Austin area. One victim had permanent brain damage.
“I hope justice is brought to the family and myself as well,” Rodriguez said.