Monica Chavez, accused in fatal Stollsteimer crash, had seizures, ignored advice not to drive

Update: The traffic crash that killed five members of the Stollsteimer family was undeniably tragic -- and new evidence suggests it was also preventable.

Monica Chavez, the woman charged with five counts of negligent homicide in the incident, was told she shouldn't drive because of a medical condition -- but she continued to climb behind the wheel anyhow, with horrific results.

Chavez, 34, is reportedly well-known to law enforcement, with a number of allegations (and several aliases) cited on her arrest record. Included among them: a November 2010 felony menacing beef, in which she was accused of threatening women with a knife.

Several months later, on February 17, police say Chavez was driving her SUV south in the northbound lanes of North Grant Street at a high rate of speed. Near the intersection of Grant and 84th Avenue, the vehicle went airborne, landing on a pickup truck containing the Stollsteimers -- mom Crystaldawn, dad Randy and kids Sebastion, Darrian and Cyrus, whose ages ranged from six to twelve. The entire family was killed on impact.

No, Chavez was not drunk. However, a newly released arrest affidavit spells out why cops don't see what happened as an accident. Back in 2006, Chavez had seizures serious enough to prompt a visit to an emergency room. There, she was advised not to drive until a neurologist gave her the all-clear. But she never visited such a doctor because, she subsequently told cops, she couldn't afford it.

The 2006 symptoms weren't isolated incidents. Just last August, she had another seizure in a parking lot and actually lost consciousness. Once again, though, she declined to visit a doctor, chalking up the collapse to dehydration and overwork.

Of course, tests were conducted after the Stollsteimer deaths. The results aren't in yet -- but the fact that she didn't bother seeking treatment for her medical issues over a five-year span no doubt inspired the "negligent" part of the charges against her.

Look below for our previous coverage, which includes a tribute to the Stollsteimers.

Original post, 8:36 a.m. May 16: Incidents don't get much more tragic than the February death of the Stollsteimer family -- mom Crystaldawn, dad Randy and kids Sebastion, Darrian and Cyrus -- after an airborne sport-utility vehicle reportedly landed on the pickup in which they were riding.

Now, that SUV's driver, Monica Chavez, has been charged with five counts of criminally negligent homicide.

Here's a look at the family, followed by their heartfelt obituary, courtesy of Horan & McConaty:

Randy & Crystaldawn Stollsteimer Family

Departed on Feb. 17, 2011 and resided in Thornton, CO.

Crystaldawn Cheri: Was born May 8th 1979 at Rose Hospital.

A very healthy and curious child, not more than 5 minutes after she was born she rolled over to see what was going on. Was into theatre with her sexy legs! Her laugh was the most unique thing that everyone would recognize. Her courage to fight for anything she would believe in or just to argue her point.

Randy Patrick: Was born July 10th 1976.

Randy started out as the quiet shy timid gentleman but then once you got to know him he was a wonderful outspoken person. The simplest toys would frustrate Randy at Christmas time to put together and in turn he became a fine sheet metal worker.

Randy's sister is the one who introduced them; they then became middle school sweet hearts and were inseparable. Crystal drew Randy out of his shell. They were married in 1997 and started a family soon after.

Sebastion Orion: Was born October 1st 1998.

So loving and just adorable, he grew to become a very respectable young man and a wonderful charmer. A big kid whose latest endeavor had him playing basketball.

Darrian Demetriouse: Was born August 2nd 2001.

Just very quiet until he would start playing video games, he would get so excited he would be bouncing around and Crystal would always ask him if he needed to use the restroom.

Cyrus Vincent: Was born March 3rd 2003.

Very sweet and cuddly and looks like a little man. Loved to tease Randy and his Gramps and then run and flop his feet up on Grandma to rub.

In closing we want you to know how strong this family was, the many surgeries they had to overcome made them stronger. Most people would only wish to have their strength. Randy, Crystal, Sebastion, Darrian, and Cyrus passed away as they lived, together.

Chavez, 34, turned herself in at the Thornton Police Department on Friday evening in relation to the crash, which took place during rush hour on February 17 near North Grant Street and East 84th Avenue. According to police, Chavez was driving south in the northbound lanes of Grant, and doing it fast -- so fast that her SUV launched into the air at the intersection, landing on top of the pickup. The Stollsteimers were killed on impact.

Here's a larger look at Chavez's mug shot.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "DA Carol Chambers under fire for giving witness a car in death-penalty case."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts