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Alexa Bartell's family celebrates life of 20-year-old killed 1 year ago in rock-throwing crime

alexa bartell.jpg
Posted at 10:11 PM, Apr 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-20 00:23:59-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Surrounded by dozens of family members huddled in jackets amid a spring snow shower, Kelly Bartell shared the words tattooed on her daughter's arm. They are words she has been thinking about for the past year.

It's a passage from the Bible: "Luke 6:27. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you,” she said.

That's what her daughter, Alexa Bartell, would want people to do, Kelly said later that evening.

"That’s what I want her remembered for," she said.

Alexa Bartell's family celebrates life of 20-year-old killed 1 year ago in rock-throwing crime

Friday marked one year since her unexpected death.

Alexa, 20, had been driving northbound on Indiana Street, just south of State Highway 128, in Jefferson County on the evening of April 19, 2023. Investigators said a large rock had crashed through her windshield, killing her.

On Friday at 6 p.m., her friends and family met at the site of the crash and spread soil and seeds around the side of the road.

Alexa Bartell family one year

Kelly told the group something they already knew all too well — that her daughter was an amazing, kind and happy young woman.

They exchanged "I love yous" often. Kelly said she did the same on the night of the incident, but remembers feeling like she wanted to give Alexa one more hug before she went out to walk the dogs and Alexa went to a friend's house. So she did. And it was the last one, Kelly said.

“Give your kids, give your friends, give your parents a hug — you know they know that you love them, but reassure them one more time, for us," she said.

Alexa's father Greg Bartell, who lives in Florida, said the last time he was in Colorado, he took her out to dinner.

“I can tell you exactly the spot I hugged my daughter for the last time," he said. "I had no idea I was hugging her for the last time. I told her I loved her and ‘I’ll see you again, baby doll.’”

Alexa Bartell

He said he knows for a fact that Jesus Christ met his daughter at the crash that night and took her to heaven.

Kelly remembered that her daughter was always smiling and wanting to make people laugh. She lit up a room, she said.

"She was always there for all of her friends," she said. "She was the one you go to to talk about your problems. She loved helping other people."

She wanted to gather the family on Friday to remember the many good memories and share the joy that Alexa brought into the world .

Alexa Bartell cross

Robyn Miller, Alexa's aunt and Kelly's sister, was one of the many family members who helped spread the seeds on Friday before a celebration of life nearby.

"I was blessed to be there the day she was born," she said. "Got to hold her for the first time... We used to argue: She'd say 'I love you' and I'd say, 'I'd love you more,' and she'd say, 'I love you more!'"

The sisters said Alexa always wanted to dance and tried to get her family to join her. Almost everybody in the family got looped in at some point, they said.

"She's our TikTok dancer," Kelly said, laughing.

Alexa got a new job just before her death and was looking forward to the new challenges. She was saving money and stepping into adulthood.

"She was on the right track," Kelly said. "She was happy and she was proud of who she was."

Donations can be made directly to the Alexa Bartell Memorial Fund at FirstBank. The family is also accepting donations via Zelle at as well as via Venmo at @Alexa-Bartell-4. Venmo may ask for the last four digits of the associated phone number, which are 1166.

Three suspects, who were seniors in high school at the time, were arrested in connection with Bartell's death. They all pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, second-degree assault and attempted second-degree assault. The defendants, accused of throwing rocks at other drivers as well, will have separate trials, the first of which begins on June 7.

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