The late Gilbert Marquez (seated at right) sits for a family photo around 2019 with his ex-wife, Ruth (left), 58, who he remained friends with and close to for almost 20 years after their divorce, and their children, Fernando (rear from left), 33, Margaret, 37, and Arthur, 39. Gilbert was killed on Saturday, June 26, by a suspected drunken driver on Highway 115 southeast of Calipatria. | PHOTO COURTESY OF FERNANDO MARQUEZ
“My dad was taken from me. He was murdered,” the 33-year-old Fernando, also known as “Nando,” told this newspaper on Monday evening, June 28.
Around 4 p.m., Gilbert Marquez was driving south on Highway 115 southeast of Calipatria approaching East Albright Road when, California Highway Patrol officials say, “for unknown reasons” a car driven by 54-year-old Shefner Larnell Moore, also of Brawley, entered the intersection heading west on Albright and broadsided Marquez’s 2006 Ford F-250.
The impact sent Marquez’s truck end over end multiple times, landing on its tires. Gilbert was ejected and died at the scene, Highway Patrol Officer S. Acevedo said on Sunday morning, June 27.
Fernando, the youngest of three children, said the family is still in shock and beside themselves. He said his father, who had been divorced from his mother, Ruth, for almost 20 years, lived with a cousin and his 88-year-old mother, who depended on Gilbert Marquez for everything.
“He lived with her, he took care of her,” Fernando said, adding his dad was a pivotal figure in the family dynamic, as he was still good friends with his ex-wife, close to his other children — middle sister, Margaret, 37, and eldest brother, Arthur, 39 — and was a doting grandfather to a combined seven grandchildren.
“We’re hurting,” Fernando said Monday, clearly struggling not to weep, “and angry.”
The family is angry over how a man with five prior DUI convictions, which is what authorities told the family when they informed them their father had been killed, could have been out on the road that afternoon.
For now, Moore is only accused of felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter, but he has been arrested for both despite the fact that he was hospitalized as of Monday morning.
Acevedo would only say “alcohol was a factor” and little else. He also would not confirm that Moore had in fact drove through a posted stop sign but did say preliminary findings indicate he did not cede the right of way to Marquez.
After the collision, Moore’s 2012 Ford Fusion was pushed into a dirt embankment on the side of the road, Acevedo said. He was hurt, the CHP officer added, and Moore had to be airlifted by REACH helicopter to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs for treatment of internal injuries.