Wrong-way wrecks hit home for Gilbert man

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

MESA, Ariz. -- Last week's wrong-way wreck that killed Mesa police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza is hitting home for those who knew him.
"I've known Mendoza since he was just a little boy, and I know all of the good he's done for Mesa so it's really sad," Fern Whiting said.
Then Friday, another wrong-way driver on Interstate 17 crashed into a minivan, killing three people on board.
"It's sad,” Wayne Demers said.
Then Sunday morning, Ashley Adea and Michael Ruquet lost their lives.
"It's devastating. I can't believe it keeps happening, but it is very very sad,” Courtney Dymond said.
Alonzo Campbell said these crashes hit close to home because he said he knew both Mendoza and Ruquet. He said he knew Mendoza for several years and had just met Ruquet.
"It's kind of heartbreaking," Campbell said.
He said just two years ago he was in the hospital after a car accident and Mendoza was there for him.
"When I was in the hospital, he came to visit me and he basically told me that everything was going to be all right and to stay strong," Campbell said. "It’s just unfortunate the way he passed away and I just wish that I could tell him to stay strong, but I can’t."
Then he heard that Ruquet and his girlfriend were victims of another wrong-way crash.
"I just still can't understand how this has happened," he said.
He said they were both good men.
"Michael, he was just kind of like Mendoza in a way. Just a good, all-around guy; always there to care about others,” he said.
The Department of Public Safety said the two surviving wrong-way drivers from Friday and Sunday have not been charged yet. DPS is still investigating whether they were intoxicated.