Soldier Home from Iraq Killed in Hit-And-Run

Luis Ruiz killed on daughter's birthday

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    An Army reservist and former Marine who recently came home from Iraq was killed early Friday on his daughter's sixth birthday in a hit-and-run crash in Fort Worth.

    Luis Ruiz, 35, was pronounced dead at the scene on North Main Street near Northside Drive after his motorcycle was hit by a car that turned in front of him, police said.

    Family Mourns Reservist Killed in Hit-And-Run Crash

    [DFW] Family Mourns Reservist Killed in Hit-And-Run Crash
    An Army reservist and former Marine who recently came home from Iraq was killed in a hit-and-run (Published Friday, Sept. 24, 2010)

    "He was a wonderful man," said his wife, Elizabeth Ruiz. "He loved his girls very much."

    He leaves two daughters, Celeste, who turned 6 on Friday, and 3-month-old Soleil.

    The family had planned a party for Celeste's birthday this weekend.

    Ruiz joined the Marines after graduating high school and served 10 years, including a tour in Iraq. He later returned to Iraq after joining the U.S. Army Reserve.

    "The military was his life; the country was his life, his family," said his younger brother, Carlos.

    Elizabeth Ruiz said she was prepared for her husband to die at war, but she never imagined he would died in a hit-and-run at home.

    "I would have rather lost him in Iraq than to have lost him here," she said.

    Police said witnesses led officers to a man suspected in the hit-and-run. Jaime Ibarra, 23, was arrested at his house about two hours later. He faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter.

    Ruiz's wife said she doesn't understand why he didn't stop.

    "I mean, we're humans," she said. "Your first instinct when you hurt somebody is, 'Oh my gosh, is he OK?' He didn't care. He kept going. And that's what's killing me."

    Ruiz's brother said no punishment can bring his brother back.

    "He took away a brother, a father, a husband," Carlos Ruiz said. "You know, you just can't replace that. You just can't."

    Elizabeth Ruiz said she can't bear the thought of her daughters growing up without him.

    "I have a 6-year-old girl and a 3-month-old baby -- a 3-month old who will never get to meet her father," she said. "All she'll have are pictures."

    Ruiz will be buried in his hometown of Houston.