Woman killed in crash with car thieves ID'd

Posted at 11:07 AM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 06:28:07-05

Friends say Jessica Holman, the woman killed when two men in a stolen pickup slammed head-on into her car while fleeing from police, "had the greatest heart."

"We were friends for 20 years," said Lindsey Sunday. "This is a shock. We went to school together at Moore Middle School and Pomona.  She was a friend to everyone."

Sunday told Denver7 that "It's upsetting to lose her.  She has a 10-year-old son."

Police described the events leading up to the fatal crash.  They say it began Tuesday, when two men stole a Ford F-350 pickup truck, a trailer with two off-road vehicles from a house on the 8600 block of West 86th Circle in Westminster.

The owner saw the thieves, began to follow them and called police.

Patrol officers caught up with the stolen truck as the driver was headed northbound on Wadsworth Parkway. Police activated their lights and sirens on the 9400 block of Wadsworth and tried to make a traffic stop.

They say that's when the driver of the stolen truck veered across the median and into the southbound lanes, striking Holman's car head-on. The young mom died at the scene.

Neighbor Megan Patterson told Denver7 that she heard the crash, looked up over the fence and saw two men running.  She said it frightened her a bit when she saw one of them jump over the fence. 

"That's when I thought it might be a stolen car," Patterson said.  "We got into our apartment as fast as we could and I locked the door."

Patterson said she and her son had just returned home from a trip to the mountains moments before the crash.

"I've been thinking about this all day," she said. "I'm grateful. I'm 32.  I'm a mother and it was just a minute or two prior that we were on that road.  So, my heart goes out to that family."

Westminster Police spokeswoman Cheri Spottke told Denver7 the first officer on the scene had to decide whether to go after the fence jumper or to stay with the first suspect who was in custody.  She said he stayed.

Arvada and Broomfield Police assisted Westminster in the search for the second suspect.  Officers went door-to-door Tuesday night as Denver Police Department's helicopter searched from above. Authorities did not find the person they were looking for.

When asked if police had actually been chasing the suspects prior to the crash, Spottke said, "By definition and case law, a pursuit is when an officer activates emergency equipment and the other vehicle doesn't stop. It doesn't matter if the vehicle goes a short distance or several miles."

Spottke added that the incident involving the stolen truck was a "short pursuit."

Westminster Police are asking anyone with information about who else may have been involved in the theft and crash to contact investigators.

The man whose truck was stolen did get one of his off-road vehicles back. The razor vehicle had fallen off the trailer on the 8600 block of Queen Street.