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Jury Finds Woman Accused In Deadly Crash Not Guilty

BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) - An Adams County jury on Friday declared Monica Chavez not guilty of all the charges against her.

Chavez is the woman who was accused of causing a car crash that killed an entire family from Thornton. She faced criminally negligent homicide charges and child abuse charges.

Prosecutors say Chavez was driving in February 2011 in Thornton when she lost control of her SUV, hit a median, went airborn and then landed on top of a pickup truck, killing all 5 members of the Stollsteimer family. Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their three boys were in the truck and were killed.

Chavez began to shake and sob when each not guilty verdict was read. There were five counts of criminally negligent homicide, one for each member of the Stollsteimer family. The verdict left the family in tears.

"It's wrong. This verdict is wrong," said Jessica Johnson.

The trial focused on Chavez's medical history, which included seizure-like episodes when she was reportedly told by doctors in 2006 not to drive. Chavez was told to see a specialist but she said she couldn't afford it. Prosecutors claimed Chavez ignored her doctor's orders.

"How can someone who knows they have a medical condition choose not to get treatment and not be held responsible for their actions?" said Crystal Dawn's father Rich Headley.

Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their children
Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their children (credit: CBS)

As part of the evidence presented at the trial, a police interview videotape showed Chavez days after the deadly crash saying she didn't remember what happened and expressed remorse at learning the entire family had died.

"I feel horrible. I feel sad," said Chavez on the police tape.

"There is a murderer out there right now still probably able to drive. I don't know. Watch out people. Be selective, smart and take care of your loved ones," said Randy Stollsteimer's brother David Stollsteimer.

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