Mother doesn’t blame man’s family for drunk-driving deaths

The mother of a Grand Junction woman who, along with her baby, was killed by a suspected drunken driver last month does not blame the driver’s family for their son’s mistake.

“This kids (sic) family said that their hearts go out to my family,” Tammy Ulibarri wrote in a letter to the Sentinel.

“Well as one mother to another my heart goes out to his mother. This is not her fault, and I wish I could tell her this in person. She will lose her child in a different way, but none the less.”

Ulibarri, 40, is incarcerated in a Colorado prison. She said in the letter she doesn’t understand why police couldn’t stop the drunken driver from ramming into a vehicle Feb. 28 and killing two of its occupants: her daughter Shandi Boetel, 21, and her 6-month-old granddaughter, Natalia Casiano.

Ulibarri said she knows that Derrick Maxfield, 20, who is accused of causing the collision, will have to pay for his actions in another way.

Ulibarri is serving a five-year sentence in the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. She
pleaded guilty to first-degree felony assault on Jan. 19, 2007. Prosecutors dropped a charge of first-degree attempted murder after deliberation in exchange for the plea agreement. She was arrested Feb. 27, 2006,  in Lakewood, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Ulibarri’s first estimated parole eligibility date is in October, but getting out of prison won’t bring her any closer to her daughter and granddaughter now.

“(Maxfield’s mother) is going to be able to hug, kiss, laugh, cry, talk to her son this is something that Luis & I will never be able to do again,” Ulibarri wrote. “This boy may not have pulled out a gun and shot my babies or stabbed them but as far as I’m concerned it is murder no matter how you word it in legal terms.”

Maxfield, of Parachute, is free on $100,000 bond from Mesa County Jail. He is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless endangerment, speeding more than 20 mph over the limit and a traffic violation.

According to Maxfield’s arrest affidavit, he was driving so fast that police had no chance of catching him before his Honda Civic rammed into a pickup in which Ulibarri’s daughter and granddaughter were riding. Luis Casiano, the baby’s father and Boetel’s husband, was driving the pickup.

Maxfield’s blood-alcohol content registered at 0.21 percent, more than 2 1/2 times the legal adult limit, during an initial screen at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Maxfield told police he “takes full responsibility for his actions” when asked by a police officer at the scene whether he thinks he hurt anyone, according to an unredacted copy of Maxfield’s affidavit.

Maxfield told police he had been drinking beer earlier, drank two shots of whiskey and fought with his girlfriend. He told police he remembered getting into his car, but he did not remember driving or getting into a crash, the affidavit said.

Maxfield returns to court April 9.


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