NEW PORT RICHEY — After her cat died, Deborah Wesson Bobek waited months before deciding to adopt again.
This time she took in Lucy, a quiet but skittish rescue from the Alabama tornadoes. The 6-year-old hound-shepherd mix moved into the home Bobek shared with her fiance, Russell Moe.
Lucy was having trouble adjusting to her new home and needs frequent walks.
So just before 5 a.m. Wednesday, Bobek, 49, told Moe, 50, that she was taking Lucy out.
"All right, babe. See you in a few," Moe recalled saying as Bobek stepped outside with Lucy.
Those were his last words to her.
Moments later, authorities say, a car hit Bobek from behind while she was walking on Grand Boulevard. The car knocked her into the center of the road, where she died.
Then the driver fled. The Florida Highway Patrol does not have a description of the vehicle. The area doesn't have streetlights, but the road gets ambient lighting from nearby businesses, troopers said.
Moe sensed something was wrong when Bobek didn't return by 5:20 a.m.
"She's been gone for too long," he thought to himself. Moe walked outside to check for Bobek.
Down the block he saw several patrol cars. His heart sank. Moe asked the officers what happened. He told them Bobek was wearing a blue and white pajama shirt. She was walking a dog.
The rest of the morning was a whirlwind, Moe said. From when troopers told him they were 99 percent sure Bobek had been killed, to when they brought her belongings to her mother's house, Moe said he felt like he was in a daze.
"I still expect her to be there when I get home," he said.
Moe and Bobek met three years ago in a neighborhood bar. The only empty seat in the place that night was next to her.
It was a Friday — Moe still remembers the date, Sept. 12, 2008. They talked about New Port Richey, music and life. Moe knew she was special.
Bobek attended Gulf High School and lived in New Port Richey her entire life. For many years she worked in an auto parts store. The grandmother of six was described as a woman with a great sense of humor and a soft spot for animals.
She also had some struggles: Records show she was arrested a few times over the years for drunken driving and related charges, most recently in February. Troopers don't believe she had been drinking before Wednesday's crash.
Moe and Bobek, a couple who often finished one another's sentences, had been engaged for two years and hoped to get married sometime in November. They often took walks in the park or went for long drives, Moe said.
"We were simple. Simple and poor," Moe said. "But we were very happy. Probably as happy as either of us could be."
Moe said he will miss their morning and afternoon routine the most.
Every day before he left for work at Seven Springs Golf and Country Club, where he works as a groundskeeper, Moe would hug Bobek, tell her he loved her and would miss her. Then when he got home to her big smile — something he loved about her — he would hug her again and say he missed her and loved her.
"She was my life, really," Moe said. "I just have to try to function somehow without her. I don't know how I'm going to do that."