LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- She was a good Samaritan helping someone she didn’t know -- and it cost her life.
Jana Elliott, 56, is a former Conifer resident, wife and mother who died in a bizarre car accident just before 9 p.m. Sunday on West Sixth Avenue and Indiana Street in Lakewood.
The man who is accused of hitting her was behind bars Monday. Curtis Blodgett, 24, will be advised of his rights in Jefferson County Court on Tuesday.
The Lakewood Police Department said he played a part in a bad accident that killed Elliott, who was trying to do good.
“She brought over a pie and welcomed us to the neighborhood,” said Laura Dokken, who lived next door to Elliott on Rand Road in Conifer for 15 years.
Elliott and her husband moved to Wolf Point, Mont., about two years ago.
“When she moved out that was a big loss,” Dokken said.
So she wasn’t surprised to hear her friend had lost her life trying to help a couple of strangers retrieve a bicycle that had fallen off their rack onto eastbound Sixth Avenue.
“The collision must have been quite horrific. I would imagine at highway speeds,” Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis said.
Davis said Elliott’s friend, Sharon Young, pulled up to the bike near the concrete median in the left lane and parked, partially blocking the lane of traffic.
“They did get the bike out of traffic. They got it back to the shoulder of the road, back to the guy who owns the bike. Both females had been out assisting. They got back in their car, seat-belted in, ready to go, and the other car came and impacted the rear end of theirs,” Davis said.
Police said Blodgett was driving at about 65 mph. In an arrest affidavit, Blodgett said he looked down to pick up a water bottle he was holding between his legs. He also said he smoked marijuana earlier that afternoon.
“It’s hard to tell people not to help out. But in cases like this, stopping on a highway is probably not good, ever. To stop in the lane of traffic, just as you can see from what happened (Sunday) night can be very tragic,” Davis said.
“She was one of the good ones, definitely,” Dokken said.
She said Elliott’s kindness was her trademark, from watching her dog Trooper, to watching after kids. She was an educator. Now, Dokken believes her Maker is watching over her.
“That’s a comfort. That’s definitely a comfort because you know she is OK," Dokken said.
Elliott had been in Colorado visiting Young.
Blodgett likely faces charges of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs.
As for the men whose bike wasn’t properly secured to the rack, police said they won’t be cited. But their actions caused a catastrophic chain of events.