Tomika Early was looking forward to a new job, a new relationship and life.
“The friendliest, loving, caring, and every time you would see her, she was smiling,” said Dianne Talley, a friend of Early's family.
She said Early had plenty to smile about. By all accounts, her future was promising before Tuesday night when police say 52-year-old Robert Paris careened into her.
Police say Paris was drunk. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and leaving after colliding.
Early was standing next to her boyfriend who was changing her tire.
Talley said Early was like a niece, and close friends describe her family as one that fought through a year of tragedy.
“It's sad because someone else close to her passed about a year ago,” said Early's friend, Indya Price.
Prince said Early was getting back on her feet after her husband passed away after a massive heart attack.
By Wednesday night, crews were repairing the light pole Paris damaged while trying to take off. This curve turned crime scene is near the intersection on Suitland Parkway and Stanton Road.
Talley said it’s a tragic reminder to tell your loved ones how much they are loved.
“Love each other because you don't know what God has in store for any of us,” said Talley.
Court records show Paris was reportedly arrested and charged with alcohol-related crimes at least twice in recent years -- driving while under the influence of alcohol in 2010 and driving while impaired by alcohol in May.
Paris will appear in court for this latest incident on Thursday.