Filipina in Florida seeks help to find hit-and-run driver in death of USN veteran husband
A Filipina American woman in Florida is asking the public for help to find the driver who struck and left her husband fatally injured Dec. 5 on a roadside near Pensacola.
Lourdes Fernandez Archer said her husband, retired USN Lt. Commander Paul Archer, 70, had left for his routine walk mid-afternoon Sunday along Mobile Highway near their Escambia County home. Her husband was looking forward to watching the NFL game later that day, she told reporters.
When he had not returned around 6 p.m., she began to worry and called his cellphone but got no answer. She kept calling, but he never picked up. She was getting frantic when the police showed up at her home to inform her of her husband’s fate.
Florida Highway Patrol reported that an unidentified motorist “failed to maintain their lane and ran off the road to the right, colliding with the pedestrian.” The driver may have pulled over then drove off, according to the statement. FHP earlier said they were “looking for a possible black midsize passenger car with front-end damage.” On Monday, Dec. 6, they said they had located the vehicle. Investigation is ongoing.
Archer’s death shocked neighbors who were aware of his daily habit and safety precautions. “He’s always wearing the reflective vest. He had a neon hat and a little walking stick all the time,” said Jennifer Laux. “My heart really goes out to his family because his life is gone, just like that.”
The Archers’ relatives around the world expressed their grief and consoled each other on social media.
“My kids and I can’t stop sobbing as he and his wife were very close to us,” Rosana Robles Fernandez, Lourdes Archer’s cousin-in-law, told INQUIRER.net. “Paul was a very good man! Please pray for him.”
Formerly a resident of Glendale, California, Robles Fernandez said she cannot believe she and her daughters have lost a beloved father figure.
“Paul and Lourdes used to come to the Philippines every year. They loved Tagaytay, where they planned to buy a house,” said Robles Fernandez, now living in San Juan City, Metro Manila.
The Archers were longtime residents of Washington State, where Paul was born. He celebrated his 70th birthday just two months ago.
“They moved to Florida to be near the base,” Robles Fernandez said, referring to the US Naval Base in Pensacola.
Lt. Commander Paul Lawrence Archer dedicated his life to the US Navy. He attended the University of Washington in Seattle on a naval scholarship in 1970. Four years later he was commissioned as a Navy officer. In 1984 he was promoted Lieutenant Commander.
He officially retired in 1994, concluding a 20-year career that earned him the National Defense Service Medal, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with three bronze stars; and the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon with three bronze stars.
Naval service also led him to the love of his life. While stationed in Manila in 1981, he met and married Lourdes Fernandez, his loving partner for 40 years. Together they cheered their hometown teams, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Huskies, even after relocating to Florida. Post-service he worked as insurance adjuster. They enjoyed traveling, especially ocean cruises, said Robles Fernandez.
His obituary stated: “Paul never met a stranger—his intense curiosity about life, his bountiful knowledge about history, people and places, and his kindness and generosity to others will long be remembered.”
“We are seeking justice for Paul. Please share the news so the person responsible for his tragic death answers for it,” pleaded Rosana Fernandez.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Florida Highway Patrol at 859-484-500 or Fax # 850-484-5090.