Carmen Ramirez, the chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors who died after she was struck by a pickup truck, was honored at a candlelight vigil in Oxnard on Saturday night.
Ramirez, 73, was hit by a 2020 GMC Sierra around 6:40 p.m. Friday near the intersection of West Seventh and South A streets in downtown Oxnard, the Oxnard Police Department said in a press release.
She was walking in a crosswalk when she was hit, police said. She was taken to a local hospital by ambulance where she died from her injuries.
The driver of the Sierra, a 38-year-old man, stayed at the scene and is cooperating with investigators, police said.
Ramirez became the first Latina to be named chair of the Board of Supervisors, the Camarillo Acorn reported, and at the vigil, she was remembered for her care for others.
“She was a spokesperson for the underprivileged, 100%. She spoke for everybody,” said colleague Richelle Beltran.
“She was our champion. She believed in education. She believed in seeing kids involved in all sorts of things and making sure those activities were kept alive in our community,” added Javier Gomez, a friend and colleague.
Ramirez previously served on the Oxnard City Council for 10 years, and she also served on regional organizations like the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District and the Southern California Association of Governments.
An attorney, she was president of the Ventura County Bar Association in 1998 and was elected to the State Bar Board of Governors from 2005 through 2008.
After her death was made public Friday night, tributes poured in from governmental agencies and elected officials.
“We are all in shock and words cannot express the enormous void that will be felt after the devastating loss of my dear friend Carmen Ramirez,” Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin said on Twitter. “Our community has lost a champion for those whose voices would be otherwise unheard. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley also mourned Ramirez on Twitter, calling her one of the “most loved and admired citizens” of the county.
“Carmen was my friend, and I cannot put into words what this loss means to the many people who were fortunate to know her. My heart is broken. She loved her community passionately, and she will always be remembered fondly for her kindness, her warmth, and her smile,” Brownley wrote.
At Saturday’s vigil, Ramirez’s friends noted that despite her sudden passing, she left an impact that will be felt both for what she accomplished and the way in which she did it.
“I think it’s a reminder to all of us that we’re here for a short time, and we don’t know when death is going to come calling,” said Luzmaria Espinosa, a friend of Ramirez. “We can always be warriors, but everything has to be done with the heart. And I think that’s what she did.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Cpl. Andrew Pinkstaff at 805-385-7750 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.