Mom of accident victim mourns loss of only child

She was a vivacious 20-year-old girl in love with life. From her ever-changing hair styles to the detailed stories, her parents never knew what to expect when she walked through the door. Ashley Masek was unpredictable.

But for Ashley's mom, Mary Hobbs, the best feeling she has had for the last five days has been emptiness.

"She loved life, she lived every day to the fullest, and she was just coming into her own. She had just found her purpose. She discovered her love of helping people," Hobbs said. "I'm empty - that's the best feeling I have right now."

Masek was the back-seat passenger in a vehicle that rolled on Deer Run Road on Thursday morning. The driver, Billy Joe Thompson, told officers he swerved to avoid a dog in the road and lost control.

Masek and front-seat passenger Eric Thompson, 18 - no relation to the driver - both died at the scene. The driver walked away with minor injuries. The accident is still under investigation by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

A memorial service will be held for Masek at 11 a.m. today at Capital Baptist Church, 4555 S. Edmonds Dr. Funeral arrangements for Thompson have not yet been scheduled.

"It's not fair that her life was robbed at a young age," Hobbs said. "I'm angry, I'm upset and I have heard stories, but I don't know the truth (about the cause of the accident). As far as my feelings toward the driver, I will wait until I know the truth."

"If they find negligence on his part, it will be a long hard road for me to forgive him."

For now, Hobbs wants to focus on remembering her only child.

"She loved Starbucks - that was one of her favorite places, Mochaccino - and she liked alternative music, but she also listened to Britney Spears," Hobbs said.

Masek's biggest weakness was shopping, especially shoes and purses - a compulsion she shared with her mom.

"I think she had over 100 pairs of shoes and she was always buying more," Hobbs said.

Growing up Masek was the dubbed the "Campbell's Kid," because of the striking similarity to the girl in the Campbell's Soup commercials at the time.

"She had the round face, the curly hair and the big blue eyes. She was the Campbell's kid," Hobbs said.

As she got older, the towheaded Masek began experimenting with the color of her locks, first in dramatic fashion using Kool-Aid colors like purple, red and green before refining her choices recently as she aged.

"You never knew what hair color to expect when she walked through the door. Whether she would be a redhead, a brunette or a blond, she was always changing it," Hobbs said.

Masek developed a thirst for traveling, spending time in San Francisco and eventually hoping to explore her heritage in the Czech Republic.

Despite some rough times during her teenage years, Hobbs said, Masek was always intelligent, but it wasn't until recently she figured out how to apply it.

"She wanted to help people and she wanted to design displays and work in retail," Hobbs said.

Yet the biggest adjustment will be not hearing her daughter's stories anymore, something she always looked forward to.

"She was a chatty Cathy. She could tell stories. That's what I will miss most is her stories. She'd come in, head for the fridge and grab a Capri Sun and start telling a funny story. It would take 20 minutes before I could get in a 'Hi, how are you?'" Hobbs said. "My daughter was so funny, and she could always tell a funny story."

-- Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

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