Alleged drunk driver killed mother in crash

One killed in crash at 80th and Sheridan
Posted at 4:44 AM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-16 00:23:14-05

A mother was killed and her 15-year-old daughter was hospitalized after a suspected drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into them Sunday night, police told Denver7.

The victim was 40-year-old Monica Zapata.

“She was just a wonderful person all the time,” said Katie Clair, who went to beauty school with Zapata. “There isn’t a day that she wouldn’t help somebody in need. She’s so unselfish.”

Monday night, friends gathered at the intersection of Sheridan Boulevard and West 80th Avenue where the crash happened to hold a small candlelight vigil and release balloons. The wind kept many away, but a few were undeterred.

"She’s just the best person you could ever meet," said Mary Aragon, whose son played football with Zapata's son. "She was so helpful all the time. She was always so loving and caring and open."

The crash happened a little after 10 p.m. Sunday.

The driver of the Jeep Grand Cherokee ran a red light and broad-sided the Chevy Malibu Zapata was driving.

The impact pushed the sedan about 50 yards from the intersection, Denver7 Photojournalist Daryl Orr reported.

Zapata was rushed to the hospital, but doctors could not save her.

Police did not provide any information about the extent of her daughter's injuries.

Two people got out of the Jeep and ran, police said.

Westminster Police caught the two suspects later - several miles away - near Highway 36 and Pecos Avenue.

The suspect believed to be the driver has been identified as 24-year-old Jose Sandoval Cruz. 

Alcohol is believed to be involved, according to Arvada police.

The intersection was closed in all directions for about six hours while police investigated and crews cleaned up the wreckage.

A fundraiser has been set up for Zapata's family on February 28. A Facebook page said the fundraiser will take place Fuzzy Taco at 10280 Washington Street in Thornton.


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