DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — It was a horrific single-vehicle crash in the heart of rush hour Friday that left three people dead.
The names of the victims have been released and the Colorado State Patrol needs help bringing some justice to their grieving families.
A photo near the crash site shows they were together in life — and now death.
The smiling faces of cousins Timothy Baca, 40, and Simon Mejia, 40, peer from a memorial of flowers, candles and broken pieces of a Chevrolet Trailblazer.
“That’s what they were doing was coming home. Just like any other workday,” said Baca’s wife, Jennifer.
But unlike any other day, it would be their last.
CSP said Baca lost control of the SUV, drove off northbound Interstate 25 near Greenland and smashed into a concrete culvert, killing him, Mejia and Mejia’s girlfriend’s 15-year-old son, Marcos Johnson.
Mejia’s sister Betty said her family can’t believe three souls are gone in an instant — and under circumstances that are troubling. CSP said a witness reported seeing another vehicle brake-check Baca’s SUV before he crashed.
“Please come forward. Please. Because this is not right. If someone did this to them, they cost them their lives for nothing,” Betty Mejia said.
The trio had just finished a job for Baca’s moving company, Chacka Moving and Transport in Colorado Springs. Another cousin who had been following them came across the smoldering wreckage and called Baca’s wife.
‘They were putting the fire out and I was screaming, ‘Please do whatever you have to do. Get the fire out. Pull my baby out,’” she said she pleaded.
And now Jennifer Baca must raise their three children without him: A 15-year-old and two 8-year-old twins.
“He was such a wonderful father, such hardworking man. He was my best friend,” she said.
And Mejia was Betty’s little brother, who was planning to move to Pueblo to be closer to his elderly mother.
“He was special. He was so mellow. He was real sweet. He was just a very loving person,” Betty said.
They were three people moving others for a living and moving forward with their lives, suddenly and irreversibly halted on the side of a busy highway — perhaps at the hand of another.
“It could have been avoided. It breaks my heart it really does,” Jennifer Baca said.
CSP is asking anyone who saw the crash or how another vehicle was driving around Baca’s gold Trailblazer to call 303-239-4501.
Baca’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral costs. An account has also been set up for Marcos Johnson and Simon Mejia.