A 19-year-old woman was killed in a head-on crash involving two cars on Route 107 in Saugus, Massachusetts, with one of the cars traveling the wrong way down the highway, authorities said.
The crash took place after a 7-Eleven robbery in Saugus, local police said. The alleged robber, identified as 35-year-old William Leger of Somerville, fled and was briefly chased by police.
Police said the officer chasing Leger stopped once he turned onto Route 107, driving south on the northbound side.
After driving for about a half-mile, Leger allegedly hit the other car on Route 107, police said. The person who died, identified as Ashley Forward, was driving the other car and died at the scene of the crash.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
Family and friends came together at a vigil in Lynn Wednesday night to mourn the loss of Forward.
“She was always worried about making other people happy, wanted people to get along, like always wanted to give a helping hand,” said her mother, Michelle Luongo.
Forward, a first-year nursing student at Emmanuel College, was supposed to head to work at Target today, family said.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"She's done everything I wish I could do," Luongo said. "I was so proud of her."
"She was just beautiful as a person," her boyfriend, Julio Cora, said at the vigil. "Anytime I was upset she was there to comfort me."
Leger was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police, and state troopers are seeking charges against him.
"He just took a precious life away," said Luongo. "She was 19, she didn't get to live her life yet."
Forward, a freshman, was already looking ahead to graduation after the pandemic caused her high school ceremony to be canceled.
"I said, 'Ashley, that's why you're going to college," said Michelle Luongo. "You'll get to walk across the stage, you'll make me even prouder."
A worker at the convenience store confirmed to NBC10 Boston they had been robbed before the crash. No one was hurt in the robbery. And workers at a nearby auto shop said the person who died in the crash was a young woman and that the other driver was running from police.
Surveillance video from the auto shop showed the suspect's silver car make a sharp right turn from Ballard Street onto Route 107, driving head-on into traffic and leaving police cruisers behind it.
"A silver car comes barreling through the light, misses the turn, goes down the wrong way and then 14 cops right after that," eyewitness Anthony DeDomenico said.
Aerial footage showed two cars with heavy front-end damage in the road as well an ambulance leaving the scene.
"I was on a road test and I saw the cops and they were taking her out, and that’s all you saw, was them working on her,” witness Bobby Ippolito said.
State and local police units were on the scene investigating.
Both lanes on Route 107 were shut down as crews responded.