Ashley Avila has been planning to celebrate her youngest son’s third birthday with her parents on Saturday, but now she is planning a funeral for the couple — 71-year-old Valdemar Avila and his wife of 48 years, 69-year-old Fatima Avila — after they were killed in a chain-reaction crash on Tuesday.
“Our plan was for my parents to come up tonight and stay the weekend. We had a birthday party scheduled for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s going to be a hard day,” Ashley told Global News on Friday, choking back tears.
The Avilas, who lived over “Salao Leal” beauty salon on Dundas Street West where Fatima worked for 30 years, were driving southbound on Parkside Drive at around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday, heading to a Costco in Etobicoke to fill a prescription.
While they were stopped at a red light at Spring Road, police said a 2013 BMW 320i travelling at a high rate of speed rear-ended the Toyota Matrix they were sitting in. That initial collision caused a chain-reaction collision with three other vehicles.
Valdemar was pronounced dead at the scene. Fatima was rushed to a hospital where she died of her injuries. The 38-year-old driver of the BMW was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injures.
Ashley said she’s been told that charges are pending.
“I don’t know if alcohol played a factor or not right now. We just don’t know. From victim services yesterday, I was told that there will be charges laid,” she said.
Ashley’s husband, Sokratis Mintsopoulos, said regardless nothing will bring his in-laws back.
“I know that my father-in-law was a very religious man and he would want to forgive him, even though what happened is tragic. You have to forgive in your heart,” he said.
The couple will be laid to rest on Wednesday at St. Helen’s Roman Catholic church where Ashley was an altar girl, located in the heart of Little Portugal where the couple was well known.
“They loved going for walks. People here in Little Portugal, they know them for their walks,” Ashley explained, adding her parents walked an hour and a half a day.
She said Valdemar, a roofer, had no plans to retire because he loved his job. Ashley also said he was also generous and would frequently buy groceries for people in the community. She said Fatima had a loving heart and was always willing to listen and guide her through. They adored their two grandchildren.
“That was their pride and joy. The way they went. It’s just not fair,” Ashley said.
Meanwhile, Toronto police continue to investigate the collision.
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