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Friends, family and classmates of the three girls who were killed in a Saturday car accident in Pueblo, gathered before classes at Alamosa High School yesterday to hold a prayer service. Anisa Montoya, 18, one of the three killed Saturday, was less than a month from graduating from Alamosa High School. The other two girls that were killed, Serena Sena, 14, was an 8th grader at Sangre De Cristo Middle School in Mosca, and Selena Mascarenas, 14, was an 8th grader at Ortega Middle School in Alamosa. Hundreds of people attended the gathering. The three had attended an outreach service on Saturday evening at The Door Christian Fellowship Church on Pueblo’s south side. They were on their way home when their car was hit by an alleged drunken driver. Both Sangre De Cristo and Alamosa school districts had brought in grief counselors to meet with students. Services for the three girls are being handled by Romero Valley Funeral Home in Alamosa.
Gilbert Sanchez, 36, of Pueblo, the man who is facing charges in connection with the weekend deaths of three teenage girls resulting from a car wreck had a fairly clean driving record of only minor offenses and domestic disputes before Saturday. Sanchez was advised of the potential charges against him by Magistrate Dorothy Radakovich yesterday and had his bail set at $200,000. Sanchez is facing possible counts of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence, driving with excessive alcohol in his system and running a red light. He was arrested Saturday after running a red light and crashing into a vehicle driven by Anisa Montoya, 18, of Alamosa. Sanchez’s two passengers, Jordyn Carrillo, 13, and Jade Dorrance, 14, were thrown from the bed of his pickup truck and were both seriously injured. Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut has not yet filed criminal charges against Sanchez and police are waiting for the results of Sanchez’s blood alcohol test.
3rd Judicial District Chief Judge Claude Appel handed down sentences to the Dougherty siblings in Walsenburg yesterday for shooting at law enforcement officers while leading them on a high-speed car chase last August. Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, was sentenced to 32 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree assault in February. Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for attempted first-degree assault on a peace officer and two counts of felony menacing against peace officers. Ryan Doughterty, 22, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for five counts of menacing with a deadly weapon. During the hearing, Dylan Stanley-Dougherty made an emotional plea to Judge Appel, claiming that he only intended to get the officers to back off, not to harm any of them. Appel said that since there was no doubt that Stanley-Dougherty was the shooter during the high-speed chase, he had to hand down the maximum sentence of 32 years. Lee Grace Dougherty told Appel that she sincerely apologizes to the police officers and the court for her actions. Each sibling was given credit for 265 days spent in jail. All three are now scheduled for court in Georgia on May 15th for an alleged bank robbery in Valdosta.
With just over a week left in this year’s legislative session, southern Colorado lawmakers introduced a handful of bills yesterday hoping to beat the clock before the session concludes on May 9th. Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo and Representative Keith Swerdfeger of Pueblo West, introduced SB178 to modify the state’s renewable energy standard. The bill would disallow credit toward the renewable energy standard that is currently granted to utilities for purchasing renewable energy from in-state producers. Senator Gail Schwartz, of Snowmass Village, and Representative Tom Massey, of Poncha Springs, introduced a bill to bring stricter oversight to the quality of construction of schools constructed under the Building Excellent Schools Today Act. Schwartz is also carrying SB180 that would encourage the use of woody biomass as a renewable energy source.
The Colorado State Attorney General’s office yesterday announced that it has reached an agreement with the Trinidad Catholic Cemetery Association over accusations that the nonprofit had not conducted business according to state law. Attorney General John Suthers said yesterday that the association has violated term-limit laws for the past 14 years and has failed to maintain records of meetings. Under the agreement, the cemetery association will be required to replace several board directors and will be required to vote on whether to include a catholic priest to serve on the board. The cemetery, which is in disrepair, is no longer operated by the Catholic Church. Instead, it is run by a 5-member board, which has had the same president for the past 30 years.