‘I lost my entire life’: Mother remembers 18-year-old who died on moped
Kaila Riojas, freshman at Texas Tech University
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Red Raider family is grieving after 18-year-old Kaila Riojas died on Sunday in a crash on her moped.
Her mother, Samantha Riche, says Kaila was her whole world.
“Compassion, she’s so genuine, she is, she’s everything, she’s perfect,” Riche said.
Riche remembers her smile that could light up a room.
“Her dimples could get away with anything,” Riche said.
Riojas was in her first year at Texas Tech University, but she was already set to graduate from undergrad in a year.
“She graduated with her associates degree before she graduated with her high school diploma,” Riche said.
Her goal was to be a pediatric nurse. Riche says that showed her character of loving to care for others.
“She wanted to come back home to her elderly grandparents, she wanted to help take care of them,” Riche said.
Riojas was an older sister and close to her family. It wasn’t easy on her mother when she moved to Lubbock.
“Even though it was so hard for me, I wanted her to bloom. She wanted that so bad, and so I sent her,” Riche said.
Since her death, Riche has learned her daughter was loved by many people in the Hub City.
“I didn’t realize in just the month and a half that she’d been there that she had touched so many people, and made so many friends, and made such an impact on their lives, including their teachers,” Riche said.
Riojas texted her mom Sunday morning before heading to her 12-hour clinical shift for her internship. Riche got another text at 5:35 p.m.
“She told me, ‘Mom, I’m tired and I have a four-hour project to do. When I get home, I’m just going to eat, take a small nap, and I’ll text you when I wake up,’” Riche said.
She was riding her moped home, and collided with a pickup truck while attempting to cross 19th Street.
Riche hopes people will learn to share the road.
“Be courteous, be patient, that’s someone’s dad, that’s someone’s baby,” Riche said.
Riche tracked her daughter when she hadn’t heard from her. She noticed Riojas was in the same spot for a long time. She turned to a Texas Tech parent’s Facebook group, hoping to find answers.
“They tried their best to help me,” Riche said. “I don’t wish this upon anybody with my heart. I’m so very thankful for you.”
Riche later learned what happened.
“I didn’t find out what happened until about 9:30 at night when an officer showed up at my door,” Riche said.
This moped was Riojas’ form of transportation, but that was not supposed to last for much longer.
“When she came home for Christmas, we were gifting her, her car,” Riche said.
Riche is asking everyone to leave flowers at the site of the crash on 19th Street near Peoria.
“I lost my entire life, I lost my entire soul when she lost hers,” Riche said.
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