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Colorado woman sentenced for deadly crash into family changing flat tire on I-25

A Colorado woman has been sentenced for her role in a deadly crash after he plowed into a family changing a tire on the side of I-25 last fall. Dusti Arensdorf pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide- DUI and vehicular assault- DUI on April 18. 

On Oct. 6, 2023, Shuangyue Chen, 71, and his son were changing a flat tire on their vehicle that was parked along the shoulder of Interstate 25, in the northbound lanes between 144th Avenue and Highway 7 in Broomfield. According to witnesses, Arsendorf, 43, was driving erratically in the area at that time. They said she was driving aggressively and weaving in and out of traffic at more than 100 mph. 

Prosecutors said a short time later, Arensdorf crashed into the parked vehicle and those who were standing outside of the vehicle. Chen was struck and killed. Yajing Liu, 35, Chen's daughter-in-law, was ejected from the parked vehicle as it rolled into a field next to the interstate and died. 

Liu's husband, who is also Chen's son, as well as Liu's 3-year-old son, who was inside the car, were seriously injured but survived.  

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Arensdorf was pulled from the vehicle after it came to a stop and witnesses noticed a smell of alcohol on her breath, according to prosecutors. She admitted to drinking "a couple of hard seltzers that night." Prosecutors said that Arensdorf's blood alcohol level was .343 with the legal limit of .08 in Colorado. Arensdorf has three prior DUI convictions in addition to this case.  

On May 31, Broomfield District Court Judge Priscilla Loew sentenced Arensdorf to 24 years in the Department of Corrections followed by three years of parole.  

"The defendant's choices to drink and drive have completely destroyed an innocent family," said District Attorney Brian Mason in a statement. "This was a horrific, unspeakable crime – and it was a horrific crime scene, that no one should have to see. A mother and a grandfather were taken from a small child as a result of the egregious actions of this defendant. Let this serve as another horrifying example of the dangers of drunk driving. It's imperative that we strengthen our vehicular homicide laws and increase the penalty for those who drink and drive and, in the process, kill other human beings, as happened here. My sincere, heartfelt condolences go out to the family of these innocent victims." 

"This senseless tragedy took an emotional toll on everyone involved, including the first responders who helped assess and investigate the crash scene," Broomfield Chief of Police Enea Hempelmann said in a statement. "I commend the hard work of each person involved in bringing this case to resolution and extend my deepest condolences to the victims' family and friends as they continue to navigate life without their loved ones."  

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