Those closest to the cabby who was killed by a suspected drunk driver call his death a cruel and ironic twist of fate. They say 56-year-old Brian Love worked day in and day out to keep drunk drivers off the streets.
Auburn police confirmed that alcohol appeared to be a factor in a collision that killed Love Friday morning, as he wrapped up his busy Fourth of July shift.
"I'd at least half this town probably owes him a cab fare because if they were too drunk and didn't have the money. It didn't matter, he would take them home," said Love's fiance, Sheryl Combs. "He probably would've driven the guy that hit him home, for free, that's just the kind of guy he was."
The driver suspected of causing the crash tried to run from the scene but was caught a short time later.
It happened around 6 a.m. at Auburn Way S. and E. Main Street.
An Auburn police commander said an SUV traveling south on Auburn Way ran a red light and hit the taxi in the intersection.
The taxi driver died at the scene. Both the driver of the SUV and the female passenger in his vehicle were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Upon being released from the hospital, the suspect was booked into jail for investigation of vehicular homicide and two counts of felony hit and run.
"He was a great driver," said Love's friend Rusty. "Talk about Mr. Conservative. Criminy sakes. He had two favorite words. Slow down."
Combs says she's still coming to terms with the fact that she's gone from planning a wedding to planning a funeral.
She feels Love's death is just further proof that tougher DUI laws are needed in this state.
"They've got to stop the drunk drivers,' she said. "Brian never believed in drunk driving. He just wanted to make sure people got home safe."
Flowers and balloons are already marking the spot where Brian lost his life. Combs says he worked a 13 hour shift on the Fourth of July because he knows it's a day when a lot of people are intoxicated and shouldn't be getting behind the wheel.
Funeral arrangements for Brian Love have not yet been set.