‘My parents lost their baby’

Ruby Alvarez, a 24-year-old Oakhurst resident described as a loving mother with a kind heart, died in the early hours of June 18 after a three-car wreck on Highway 41 south of Road 200.

Her 2-year-old daughter Lucy was taken to Valley Children’s Hospital with a broken leg, jaw, and arm, but was stable Tuesday after a successful operation Monday, Alvarez’s sister Wendy Alvarez said.

Wendy said the family is doing their best to deal with the tragic loss of a loved one who lit up every room she entered.

“It is really rough right now,” Wendy said. “My parents lost their baby, so it’s been really difficult. Lucy is the only thing keeping them together at this point. They have to stay strong for her.”

Wendy said Ruby, a general manager at Form Fitness next to Raley’s, defined her life by helping others.

“The gym was pretty much her life other than Lucy,” Wendy said. “She was just always happy, no matter how she felt, and she came to people with a huge smile ... she was smart, she was beautiful, she loved God, and she loved her family and friends.”

Within hours after learning of the wreck, the community’s response was one of love and generosity. A GoFundMe page was quickly set up for online donations, and raised more than $7,100 through Tuesday morning, with further donations accepted by visiting

A fundraiser is also being planned for early July to help Ruby’s family, with food and possibly live music or other donations being sought. Call Mandy or Sabrina Ritchie at (559) 676-5556 for information.

Additionally, Sassan Golafshan, owner of Form Fitness, said he’s planning a fundraiser for Lucy’s college education, and will open the gym for a reception after Ruby’s as-yet unscheduled funeral services.

“We are extremely grateful,” Wendy said. “It has been a comfort to my mom who sees how much Ruby was loved. She says it makes her feel good to know there were so many people out there who loved her. The community has been so good to us.”

A fatal crash

On Saturday, June 18 at 12:50 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers reported Alvarez was headed southbound in a Honda Civic sedan. For an unknown reason, she crossed into head-on traffic, slamming into two northbound vehicles - a Nissan and a Honda Accord.

One of the vehicles caught fire and spread to surrounding brush, but was quickly contained.

Ricardo Flores, 43, of Sanger, and an unidentified 40-year-old female passenger, both in the Nissan, were taken to Community Regional Medical Center of Fresno with major, but non-life-threatening injuries.

Maria Medrano, 22, of Fresno in the Honda Accord, was also transported to CRMC with similar injuries.

Alvarez suffered grave injuries, and was airlifted to CRMC where she later was pronounced deceased.

The cause of the collision is under investigation.