DENVER – Colorado State Patrol said Monday that the woman whose 2-year-old child was killed in a crash on I-70 last Friday near Lookout Mountain is under investigation for driving under the influence of drugs during the crash but has not been charged.
Troopers identified Samantha Maestas, 28, of Westminster as the driver in the deadly crash on Monday. CSP Trooper Josh Lewis told Denver7 Maestas was not wearing a seatbelt during the crash and said investigators believe she was on drugs during the crash, though they are still awaiting the results of toxicology reports.
According to investigators, Maestas could also face vehicular homicide charges, CSP said Saturday. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office will make the final determination on which charges she could face.
Lewis also said that Maestas’ 2-year-old daughter, Sophia Maeastas, was strapped into her car seat when the vehicle in which she and her mother were traveling crashed.
According to CSP, Maestas was driving eastbound on I-70 near the Lookout Mountain exit when she came upon traffic but couldn’t stop in time. Lewis said that she veered left, crossed into the median and then into the westbound lanes of the highway, colliding with an oncoming pickup truck.
A man and a woman from Longmont who were inside the pickup at the time both suffered minor injuries, CSP said.
Photos of the crash showed Maestas’ silver four-door Pontiac sedan had much of its back half sheared off during the crash.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is about to begin the process of installing new guardrails in the area in which the crash occurred—the same area where there was another deadly crash around the same time last year.
There were just three deadly crashes in the same area on I-70 between C-470 and Idaho Springs between 1996 and 2015, according to CDOT.
“This was an absolutely tragic accident,” said CDOT spokesperson Stacia Sellers. “A guardrail placement project that’s coming up in the fall will help to prevent those crossover crashes.”
The $2.5 million project will result in a guardrail barrier between the two directions of I-70 between mile posts 253 and 259, as well as at the I-70/I-270 interchange. It is being funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
“This is a safety improvement project that we know needs to happen,” Sellers said.
The family of the little girl has set up a GoFundMe account to cover funeral expenses. Family members say they are struggling to cope with the loss of Sophia.
Denver7's Blair Miller contributed to this report.