EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. (KTXL) -- The widow of a fallen Oakland police officer was driving home on Highway 99 after visiting her son in Chico when a truck hit her from behind, ending her life.
“All I could think of was this was happening again,” said 52-year-old Angela Dunakin’s best friend, Nicole Romans Hall.
Romans Hall told FOX40 she was still heartbroken Tuesday, one week after her best friend died in the crash.
“It’s now a week and I haven’t been able to talk to her and it’s really hard,” Romans Hall said. “It’s almost like having a marriage. We’ve had to lean on each other all this time.”
Dunakin had just delivered cookies to her son at Chico State University. She was driving back to her Roseville home when a truck crashed into the back of her car on Highway 99 in Yuba City.
“This is the second most painful thing I think I have ever felt and I think so much of that is because I know now there's three kids that are orphans, and there’s nothing I can do to replace their mother,” Romans Hall said.
Dunakin was the widow of Oakland Police Sgt. Mark Dunakin, who was killed in the line of duty 10 years ago.
Romans Hall lost her police officer husband, Sgt. Ervin Romans, on the same day at the hands of the same gunman. Through their tragedy, they found healing in one another and formed an unbreakable bond.
“We have not been without each other,” Romans Hall told FOX40. “Through our hardest times, we have always been by each other’s side.”
Susan Moody met Angela Dunakin in 2009, five months after her own police officer husband died on the job.
“Angela and I just became instant friends and knowing her for so long just has been amazing. Angela is an amazing soul,” Moody said.
Moody is now the president of Northern California Chapter of C.O.P.S., or Concerns of Police Survivors. She said the Dunakins can always lean on her organization for support.
“They’ve already went through this tragedy 10 years ago of losing their dad in such a public and violent crime," Moody told FOX40. "That then 10 years later, they have to go through losing their mother, their only surviving parent. Now, they’re forced to live without either parent and it breaks my heart.”
Although Dunakin’s life was cut short, her friends said they find comfort in knowing that she is once again with her soulmate.
“I know where she’s at now, with the love of her life swirling and dancing. It gives you that little bit of peace,” Romans Hall said.
Friends said Dunakin was a retired member of law enforcement herself, having served as an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy.
She was also an organ donor who helped save four lives following her death.