Family’s anger grows toward ‘reckless’ driver

SARAH HERNANDEZ, left, speaks about her younger sister, Shandi Boetel, with Shandi’s “adopted mom,” Sharon Lujan. In the photo is Shandi with her 6-month-old daughter, Natalia Casiano, who were both killed early Saturday morning in a fatal North Avenue car crash.



Shandi Boetel, 20, and her 6-month-old daughter, Natalia Casiano, died after the collision about 1 a.m. at Fifth Street and North Avenue.



A Saturday morning wreck killed a mother and daughter, whose friends and relatives are growing more angry with each passing hour.

Shandi Boetel, 20, and her 6-month-old daughter, Natalia Casiano, died after the collision about 1 a.m. at Fifth Street and North Avenue.

Another passenger in the car Boetel was driving, Luis Casiano, Boetel’s common-law husband and Natalia’s father, was in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital, Boetel’s family and friends said.

The driver of the car that crashed into Boetel’s pickup, Derrick Maxfield, 20, of Parachute, remained in the Mesa County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Maxfield was weighing heavily on the minds of Boetel’s family and friends.

Maxfield, who has no criminal record, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, is being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and other offenses, including driving under the influence of alcohol.

“I’d like them to shackle him and take him to Shandi’s funeral,” said Sharon Lujan, who befriended Boetel and took her in as her “adopted mom.”

True to that role, Lujan was with Shandi through her pregnancy, as well as delivery of Natalia, she said.

“I miss her,” Lujan said. “I miss both of them.

“It’s not fair.”

Lujan placed a card and flowers at the northwest light pole at Fifth and North. That pole is marred with the scratches and dents of being struck by the pickup truck she was driving when the car that authorities said was driven by Maxfield ran a red light and smashed into the pickup.

“I was told he was going 80 to 90 miles per hour when he hit the truck,” said Sarah Hernandez, Boetel’s elder sister.

Authorities have sealed the affidavits in the case, but police have said that Maxfield fled after a Mesa County deputy sheriff tried to make contact with him for driving recklessly “just prior to the crash.”

That contact apparently began on Orchard Mesa, Hernandez said.

She wants to know why no one placed tack strips or tried other techniques to prevent Maxfield from fleeing at high speed and colliding with another vehicle, exactly what ultimately happened, Hernandez said.

In the hours before the collision, Boetel and Casiano were at a friend’s house, watching the Denver Nuggets defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, Hernandez said. Casiano was the basketball fan, Boetel less so.

From what they have been able to piece together, Boetel was driving east on North Avenue with Casiano on the passenger side and Natalia wedged in between as the family headed home after the game, Hernandez said.

Casiano had been drinking and Boetel was driving for exactly that reason, Hernandez said.

Unaccountably, Boetel and Natalia were not belted in, but Casiano was. Boetel regularly used her seat belt and likewise strapped her daughter in for safety, her friends and family said.

Natalia was pronounced dead at the scene and Boetel died later, authorities said.

When Boetel, a waitress at Whiskey River, died, so did her poetry and her hopes to get a GED and attend Mesa State College, Hernandez said.

Boetel spoke fluent Spanish, loved horses, singing and laughter and would often spend her afternoons dancing with Natalia to tunes sung by Patsy Cline, George Strait or Garth Brooks.

Natalia, said Lujan, “had a musical giggle.”

Outside Callahan-Edfast Mortuary, where Boetel’s family and friends were making arrangements, friends Brian and Lisa Lovegrove were painting their vehicle with bright yellow
words: MADD, referring to Mothers Against Drunken Drivers and to their own anger.

People already are driving past the accident scene “like nothing happened there,” Lisa Lovegrove said. “It should never happen again.”

Hernandez and Lujan will attend all of Maxfield’s hearings, they said.

“I just want to know,” Lujan said of what she would like Maxfield to answer, “What were you thinking?”


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