WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – A family in northern Colorado was celebrating the life of a loved one who was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash in 2021 when suddenly a car hit those at the celebration of life, killing another loved one in the same location as the first tragedy.
Friends and family of William "Billy" Thompson were gathered along Eastman Park Drive in eastern Windsor on April 2, 2022 to commemorate the one year anniversary of Thompson's tragic passing.
Those attending the memorial were releasing balloons at the location where he died, just east of Diamond Valley Drive, when suddenly a westbound Jeep Cherokee struck some of those at the event.
"There is just something bad about that road," said David Schwartztrauber, Thompson's uncle. "I don't understand how this even happened."
Schwartztrauber, and his wife Karthryn, said the group was gathered in the ditch on the side of the roadway when suddenly the Jeep driver swerved and drove into the gathering.
"We were all letting off the balloons when I saw something in the corner of my eye," David Schwartztrauber said.
"I just heard a loud bang," Kathryn Schwartztrauber said. "Something hit my shoulder, and I just hit the ground really hard. I got up and saw my friend laying on the ground face down. We tried to revive her. Everybody was screaming."
David said he couldn't understand why the driver drove into the gathering. He said those attending were not standing in the street. He could only guess that the driver was watching the balloons as they floated away and accidentally veered off the roadway.
"It was terrifying," David told CBS4's Dillon Thomas.
Several of those at the event were injured, including Kathryn. One woman, who has not been publicly identified by the coroner, was killed at the scene. The same location, date, and nearly the same time as Billy Thompson the year prior.
"To lose our friend in such a tragic way one year to the day, almost to the exact time, it is devastating," Kathryn said.
The Schwartztrauber's said they originally thought they were the victims of a hit and run. The duo accused the driver of not stopping, but instead accelerating westbound down Eastman Park Dr.
Police located the silver Jeep at the intersection of Eastman Park Dr. and Diamond Valley Dr., several hundred yards down the roadway. A 23-year-old Greeley woman was reported by police as the driver of the vehicle. Her Jeep was damaged and was towed by police.
David said he didn't have time to see much of the incident prior to impact. However, he said he vividly remembered seeing the Jeep drive off the roadway.
"That is the only thing I remember, is seeing the tire cross the white line," David said.
The Schwartztrauber's said the woman who was tragically killed during the memorial was a recent cancer survivor who was planning to marry her fiancé this year in the Bahamas. They described her as a larger than life personality who was beautiful and a loving servant to others.
The Schwartztrauber's said they would never drive that roadway again following the two fatal crashes, saying they also had a loved one who was involved in a minor accident on the same stretch while trying to pay their respects to Thompson's memorial.
Because of that the family plans to remove Thompson's memorial from the location in hope of keeping others safe from the scene.
"(Drivers) need to pay attention to your surroundings. Pay attention to what is going on around you. In a matter of a second you can change everybody's world," Kathryn said.
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