On August 3, 2015, a ball of fire lit up the intersection of West 44th and Federal Boulevard in the midst of morning rush hour, after a speeding Dodge Durango rammed into the back of a Jeep, setting it on fire.
Twenty-one-year-old Sebastian and his friend inside the Jeep, on their way to work. Ricardo Gardea, 25, was driving the Durango under the influence of alcohol and marijuana and traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph speed limit zone.
After crashing into the Jeep, Gardea took off, broke into a nearby home and stole the homeowner's keys, but he didn't make it far before getting caught.
And while Sebastian’s friend survived the horrific crash, Sebastian — a new father to a baby girl — did not. Ray Evridge, who is Sebastian’s father, says his son was unrecognizable at the hospital.
“They had to cut his hands, and his fingers were still wrapped around the stirring wheel,” said Ray Evridge.
Gardea was sentenced last week to 38 years in prison.
“Denver takes a pretty strong stance on driving under the influence cases,” said Denver County Deputy District Attorney, Jason Kramer.
Despite the D.A.’s efforts to seek an appropriate sentence, Evridge says it’s not enough.
“I’m not happy at all, but it's the best we can do for the state of Colorado,” said Evridge.
Evridge says he'll eventually try to forgive Gardea, but he'll never forget.
“He is going to have to live with it and I’m going to have to live it,” said Evridge.