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Woman charged in Colorado crash was told not to drive

Exhibit A

The story

THORNTON, Colo (Reuters) – A Colorado woman accused of killing a family of five in a car crash was warned after suffering a seizure in 2006 not to drive until she was seen by a neurologist, according to court documents released on Monday.

Monica Chavez, 34, is charged with five counts of negligent homicide for the February 17 crash in suburban Denver that killed Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their three sons, Sebastian, Darrian and Cyrus.

An arrest warrant affidavit said Chavez blacked out in a grocery store in 2006, and was told by an emergency room physician “not to drive until cleared by a neurologist.”

A three-month investigation by Thornton, Colorado police ruled out drugs or alcohol in the accident, but concluded that Chavez lost control of her Ford Expedition after she blacked out from a seizure.

- Source

Exhibit B

A citizen’s response

Re: “Woman told in ’06 not to drive,” May 17 news story.

I suggest an alternative headline for this story: “Family of 5 killed due to lack of access to specialized health care.” This is the second time in as many years that a major news story has its root causes in our for-profit health care system. Here, Monica Chavez told investigators that she could not afford to see a specialist. Last year, the shooter at Deer Creek Middle School had obvious mental health issues. His family told authorities that he knew that he needed help but could not afford the treatment.

When are we going to wake up and see that affordable access to health care for everybody is not a luxury but a necessity? How many avoidable tragedies will have to occur before people finally begin to connect the dots?

Here’s a future headline for you: “Mother of 2 sentenced to 30 years in prison because she could not afford treatment.” As taxpayers, how much will that cost us? I’m sure it will be a lot more than a trip to the neurologist.

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Exhibit C

This is a response to the letter above. I thought to include this for completeness. Even though it refutes the “what goes around comes around” point made above.

Re: “Lack of health care has hidden costs,” May 19 letter to the editor.

The letter-writer believes a lack of health care caused Monica Chavez to get in a wreck that killed five people. But Chavez could have gotten care for free.

The article the letter-writer references tells where care was available, but Chavez did not get it. And if there was any doubt she knew there was a problem, shortly after the accident her mother said, “My daughter had a seizure.”

Monica Chavez knew full well she had a problem and chose to drive with it. She rolled the dice, and five people died. She could have killed even more people in the other car she hit, or her family in her car.

It is just stupid to say availability of health care caused this.

- Source

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