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Friends say victim of I-70 crash was a recent widow and loving mother of two

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- A family is reeling after their mother is killed along Interstate 70 near Little Blue Parkway, leaving two children orphans and friends looking for answers.

Friends told FOX 4's Rebecca Gannon that first and foremost, Adrienne Afrisio was a wonderful mother to her son and daughter. She was a recent widow, having lost her husband last year. Now, her two children are orphans.

Timothy Ruth, Sr. can't help but smile when he talks about Adrienne.

"Kind, caring, loving," he said quickly Sunday afternoon. "Wonderful. Just makes you smile. You light up when she comes in a room, you know?"

"She was a great mom," he added. "She always cared for her kids. She was always right there for them. She was always kind-hearted."

But on Saturday, there were tears too.

"Day before Mother's Day, that was the even worse part," he said. "And it's sad. It's sad that she's gone."

The van, which she had just gotten out of the shop, broke down on the interstate.

Ruth said, "there was a tow truck, lights, bright like it is right now, when I drove past the accident."

Afrisio was watching the tow truck load her van onto its bed when another vehicle hit Afrisio's van and her.

Ruth said Saturday's crash is the latest in a string of difficulties for the family.

"She was struggling for the last year. Unfortunately, her husband passed away last year."

Now, two children have no parents left, and friends are struggling to understand why.

"Two got to grow up without their mother or their father now," said Ruth. "And it's so sad. I don't wish that on anybody."

Ruth maintains a distracted driver hit and killed his friend. So far, the Missouri Highway Patrol has not released a cause in the accident; it is still under investigation.