WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. -- Nearly two years after her daughter was killed by a suspected drunk driver, Felicia Gallegos and her business partner, Monica Lopez, have lost their livelihoods courtesy of a another suspected drunk driver.
Wheat Ridge police say 30-year old Jason Lujan was southbound on Ward Road near West 44th Avenue at 2 a.m. Sunday when he lost control of his car. It crashed through a wooden/earthen barrier and nearby fence, then burst into flames.
The flames spread to a nearby hair salon, Felicia and Monica’s Hair Stop.
“It just breaks my heart,” Felicia Gallegos told Denver7 while surveying the damage.
Pictures from the Arvada Fire Department’s Facebook page show flames consuming the car, and then the west wall of the hair salon/barbershop.
“It hits home,” Gallegos said, “because, as you know, my daughter was killed by a drunk driver.”
Gallegos daughter, Chelsea was killed in August of 2015 when a driver traveling close to 100 miles an hour careened off Highway 285 near South Turkey Creek Road in Jefferson County.
The loss of her loved one is still fresh in Gallegos’s mind. Now, she and Lopez are contending with the loss of their business.
“Here is our shampoo area,” she said pointing to a side room, which was left in shambles after the fire.
She said fire crews had to poke holes in the roof and ceiling to extinguish flames burning in the attic. There is still debris all over the floor and furniture.
“I’m kind of sad looking at what used to be our waiting area,” Lopez told Denver7.
She said the waiting room is where customers enjoyed coffee, donuts or occasionally, popcorn.
Lopez said little-kid customers had a small table and chairs to sit down and read books.
“They all felt very comfortable in our shop,” she said.
Now, Lopez is wondering how long it will take to repair the damage and to reopen.
Lujan was arrested shortly after the crash for assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, DUI, reckless driving and failing to report an accident.
Investigators say he fought with the arresting officer.
When asked if she had something to say to Lujan, Lopez replied, “I would tell him he needs to do an awful lot of thinking before he gets behind the wheel (again).”
Gallegos told Denver7 that shortly after she learned that their hair salon had been heavily damaged, she learned that she had a new grandson.
“His name is Cash Gallegos,” she said. “He’s now 4 days old.”
Gallegos said Cash’s birth puts everything into perspective.
“Out of the ashes is beauty,” she said.