Woman killed in hit-and-run ID’d; charges pending

Mariah Loya

Authorities have identified the woman who was killed in a hit-and-run in Clifton on Sept. 16 as 22-year-old Mariah Loya of Grand Junction.

Loya was hospitalized after the wreck in a parking lot at 422
 32 Road in the morning of Sept. 16. She was pronounced dead on Saturday, according to the Mesa County Coroner’s Office.

The office determined Loya died of multiple blunt-force injuries and ruled her death a homicide.

David Arellano Jr., 19, of Grand Junction, and Cheyenne Dean, 25, of Clifton, were both sought and later arrested on unrelated charges. A Mesa County prosecutor said in court last week that Arellano told investigators after his arrest that he was behind the wheel of the SUV that struck Loya.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle told a judge that the court could expect at least a charge of leaving the scene of an accident sometime soon. Tuttle said if Loya died, Arellano could face a charge of reckless vehicular homicide.

Investigators are still determining what role Dean played in the incident.

Loya’s family — including her mother, Lorraine Dores, sister Naomi Dores and brothers Mark Dores and Brian Vasquez — released a statement about the 22-year-old.

“Mariah was adventurous. Loyal. Helpful. Loved the sense of being needed. Happy. Had a great sense of humor,” the family wrote in an email. “She loved to bake. Loved everyone’s kids. She is book and street smart. She is as tough as they came. Had your back until the tires come off. She loved to the moon and back. We miss her tons. She’s still needed, loved, and always will be.”


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