DENVER -- A family has been torn apart after two people were killed in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 25 on Saturday.
“They can’t imagine how their lives will be without Miguel and Michael,” said Jacqueline Jeske, a close friend and spokeswoman for the Ramirez family.
“They are a family of modest means but incredible generosity."
Daughter Selma Ramirez is clinging to a picture from her recent taekwondo match. It’s one of the last photos she’ll have with her father, Miguel, and brother, Michael.
“Selma is occupied with tasks that no 20-year-old should have to face," Jeske said. "She’s planning a double memorial service for her father and her brother, while attending to her mother’s care and recovery."
Jeske said Michael was a college-bound junior. He was funny and very generous.
“He was the kind of young man who would loan another kid lunch money when he didn’t have it to spare," she said.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, the family had just picked up their mother, Maria, from work and were heading home on I-25.
That’s when the Colorado State Patrol said 24-year-old Kimberly Roldan was driving south in the HOV lanes of I-25 near 70th Avenue that were open for northbound traffic.
Troopers say Roldan slammed into the Ramirez’s car. Miguel and Michael were killed. Maria and Selma were taken to a hospital with serious injuries.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said there were barricades in place to keep drivers from going the wrong direction.
Investigators believe the driver made an unusual, awkward turn off 70th Avenue onto an exit ramp despite the warning signs.
Selma Ramirez is left to be the sole source of income and support for her mother.
“I am concerned that she won’t be able to manage their ongoing expenses," Jeske said. "She is still in significant physical pain herself as she struggles to process and understand this senseless loss."
The Colorado State Patrol said Roldan is facing two counts of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
Troopers suspect alcohol was a factor in the crash. Investigators are waiting on blood-alcohol results.