Four teenage passengers in the Subaru were killed instantly. Their names were: Rose, Julian, Alyssa and Kate. The driver of the Subaru, Avree, was badly hurt. The driver of the Jeep Cherokee, Scott Owens, was not injured. Three hours after the crash, his blood alcohol level was .16. Avree's blood alcohol was zero.
As an alternate juror, I sat through the entire trial thinking I would be on the jury and would be part of deliberations. But after 10 days, the attorneys rested their cases, and the judge called out my name along with three others and dismissed us. I felt both deflated and relieved. The jury deliberated for two and a half days before finding Scott Owens Not Guilty. I was stunned.
The trial, the verdict, the deaths of those four young people, have haunted me for the past year. During the five years I lived in Santa Fe, I had never had occasion to drive on the Old Las Vegas Highway. It's one of those two-lane roads that used to be the main road, but which now runs alongside Interstate 25 like a ghost highway.
This week, we are staying at the Santa Fe KOA. It's on the Old Las Vegas Highway. Today,I glimpsed one of those roadside memorials of flowers and crosses, and it took me a minute to realize what it was. It was for the kids, the ones who died. My kids, as I think of them.
I have been amazed at how everything about my time in Santa Fe seems to have come full circle. I had always meant to find the spot of the accident, to see it for myself. But I never did. And then, by chance, I find that I am spending my last days in Santa Fe here on the Old Las Vegas Highway, driving over the accident scene and past its marker every time we come and go from town.
My last bit of unfinished business, falling into place all on its own.
Kate, Julian, Alyssa, Rose