Robin Moroney was a survivor. She spent a lifetime battling a terminal illness that claimed the lives of her brother and sister. Doctors said she wouldn't live past 25 or ever have children. She defied them 18 years ago when her daughter, Breanna, was born. At 42 years old, she'd lived nearly twice as long as anyone had predicted.
"We always kind of expected to have to deal with Robin's death," said ex-husband Kevin Moroney from New Jersey. "It's just a shame. She had beaten the odds on this horrible disease and then it ends this way."
Tuesday, as Robin drove north on Jacks Valley Road, Michael Cordero Perez, 32, drove south. State troopers believe the Bavarian Drive carpenter was intoxicated when his Jeep Cherokee careened back and forth across both lanes, before sliding sidelong into Moroney's Ford Focus.
She was unconscious and trapped in the mangled wreckage when a passerby tried to comfort her by touching her shoulder and telling her help was on way.
During a CAT scan at the hospital, Robin succumbed to her injuries, Trooper Chuck Allen said.
"No one expected this," Moroney said.
The couple divorced two years ago, and once their only child graduated from high school in June, Robin moved to Gardnerville to live with her mother, Beverly Eichman.
Eichman has been through a lot in the past 15 years, Moroney said.
Robin's sister, Wendy Epps, of Gardnerville died at 33 in 2001 of complications from Fanconi anemia, a rare illness that leads to bone marrow failure. In 1989, her brother, David Eichman, lost his life to the same disease when he was 27. Robin's father also died recently.
"She wanted to be with her mom. She was enjoying being with her mom. They were really, really good, good buddies," he said.
Despite the diagnosis, Robin's successes gave hope to others suffering from Fanconi, Moroney said.
"It was like, here is somebody who did make it. She was leading a very normal life. She was really an inspiration for people in that community."
And despite the worry it must have put on her, Robin's disposition was always sunny, he said.
"She is probably the most upbeat person I've ever met in my whole life. It is very hard to rattle her. She wasn't the type of person to get upset. I never knew her to be mad at anyone in her whole life, she never showed any animosity toward anyone. She never yelled in the whole time we were married," he said. "She was the happiest person I've ever met."
Perez will appear in court today on suspicion of felony driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol causing death. He is being held on $100,000 bail.
-- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.