Man calls retired nurse an ‘angel’ after crash sent his van into house


Sandy Gardener

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AURORA, Colo. -- A retired nurse sprang into action when a crash sent a van flying into the side of her house in Aurora on Saturday afternoon.

The crash happened at the intersection of South Peoria Street and East Kentucky Avenue.

"That's where I was standing, right there," 69-year-old Sandy Gardener said as she pointed to the area near her fence when the crash occurred. "And I looked up and the van comes flying over the fence. I haven't run in years, but I ran."

Inside that van was Steve Kuntz. He said a driver, with a passenger, might have blown through the stop sign on Kentucky before slamming into his van on Peoria.

"And then I was airborne and flipping around," he said. "[Police] estimated that their speed must have been about 65 in a 25."

His van landed against Gardener's house and the retired nurse practitioner sprang into action.

"I took my hat off and laid down on the ground to see him and talk to him," Gardener said.

"She was kind of like an angel," Kuntz said.

Kuntz is badly bruised, but believes it's a miracle he survived. Gardener said the two young men in the other car were severely injured.

"They had both hit the windshield," she said.

What bothers Gardener the most is that she has seen this before.

"There's always accidents," she said. "I've had at least five. The people across the street have four or five. People go 60 and 70 miles an hour through here and it's a residential zone.

"It's not the Indianapolis 500 in here, you know, children live here, families live here."

Gardener put up signs telling drivers to "slow down" after the crash. She said the damage to her property can be fixed. She was more concerned with the safety of others. She worried if she didn't speak up, and if people don't pay attention, that someone could be killed.

The official cause of the crash is still under investigation. The conditions of the two people in the other vehicle are unknown. It's also not clear if that driver had insurance. Kuntz said his van was totaled.

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