Stollsteimer family starts petition to change Colorado driving laws
THORNTON, Colo. –The Stollsteimer family has started a petition to change Colorado law after they are stunned by the verdict that found Monica Chavez not guilty in the traffic deaths of five members of their family.
The family wants to make sure people with medical conditions that could cause crashes are reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Monica Chavez cried tears of relief Friday as the judge read her fate: not guilty on seven charges — five for criminally negligent homicide, and two for child abuse. Outside the courtroom, the victims’ family members were shocked and angered.
“The justice system — in this case — failed our children,” Rich Headley, Crystaldawn Stollsteimer’s father, said.
“It’s a slap in the face,” Stollsteimer relative Alejandro Aldaco said. ” It’s a big slap in the face.”
“I don’t know how they can live with themselves,” relative Bill Johnson said. “I could not be married to the lady. If I were a parent, I could not accept her as a daughter.”
In February 2011, Chavez lost control of her SUV near the intersection of Grant and East 84th in Thornton. Her vehicle landed on top of a pickup truck that was carrying Randy and Crystaldawn Stollsteimer and their three young sons, Sebastian, Darrian and Cyrus.
“Our office recognizes that the killing of the Stollsteimer family — all five members — was a horrible tragedy,” Adams County District Attorney Don Quick said. “However the evidence in this case demonstrated that it was a preventable tragedy.”
The prosecution alleged Chavez knew about her medical problems and ignored a doctor’s orders to see a specialist and stop driving. With their loved ones now gone forever, this family hopes other drivers are not in harm’s way.
“There’s a murderer out there right now that is still probably able to drive,” said David Stollsteimer. “Just watch out people.”
Find our initial report on the Chavez verdict here.