Police call preceded accident

MEEKER I Police responded to a domestic call at 4:53 a.m. Jan. 19.
Two hours later, Vanessa Martin and her two children were involved in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 13, about a mile outside of town.
Nine-year-old Stone Martin died the next morning, from injuries he sustained in the accident. Alahna Martin, 12, was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Denver with multiple injuries. She was expected to be released on Wednesday.
Vanessa Martin and her children were on their way to Grand Junction at the time of the accident. It was Vanessa Martin’s 30th birthday. She had previously made plans to take the children out of school for the day, so they could spend her birthday together.
All of that changed at 7:10 a.m. — the estimated time of the accident.
A request to review the incident report from the police visit earlier that morning to the Martin home was declined because it is an ongoing investigation, said Police Chief Bob Hervey, who handled the call.
When asked about the incident, Paul Martin said, “That day is tragic enough. My family didn’t leave the way I wanted them to leave (that morning), but they left with a prayer and we all kissed each other.”
Vanessa Martin added, “We left in love.”
Paul Martin acknowledged that police had responded to a domestic dispute at the Martins’ home the morning of the accident.
“That (the domestic incident) is a piece of the day,” Paul Martin said. “There were a variety of reasons why Vanessa was going (to Grand Junction) that day.”
In response to a question about the events on the morning of the 19th, before the accident, Paul Martin said, “I’m not a person who wants to run from anything … One thing I can’t control is the past and what people think. People are going to say what they say anyway. I can tell you I’m not perfect. Everybody needs a little help sometimes, and that’s what we did that day. We needed that help like anybody else, and we needed it that day.”
Paul Martin thanked Police Chief Hervey for his handling of the domestic situation.
“Mr. Hervey came over that morning and we prayed with him, and it was a wonderful prayer. He prayed we would have better days ahead,” Paul Martin said. “He knows we rely on the Lord, and we talked about that.”
Given the tragic circumstances, Paul Martin, who is the minister of the Church of Christ in Meeker, said he and his wife “have enough to worry about to really care about what people are saying or think,” and he added, the couple is “choosing to live in hope and faith and love.”
“As a husband and wife, we know who we are and where we are and where we want to go,” Paul Martin said. “Every healthy couple has difficulties. We both realize God can use this situation. Anytime you shine the light on things, you dispel the darkness. You create an atmosphere where things can be addressed correctly, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
n Colorado State Patrol is investigating the Jan. 19 accident.
“It’s still under investigation,” said Trooper Rick Kaspar of the Colorado State Patrol. “Anytime you have a serious-injury crash, especially where a fatality is involved, we do as much investigation as we can before a citation is involved. Most likely, what we’ll do is put all the facts in a report and then present it to the Rio Blanco County’s DA office to look at the case and we’ll make a recommendation on whether a citation is issued or not.”
Kaspar said “excessive speed for road conditions” was a factor in the crash.
“The roads were slick in the area and there was some visible ice and snow on the road,” Kaspar said.
Deputy district attorney Jay Barasch said no charges have been filed in the case, nor has a recommendation been received from the Colorado State Patrol.
“In the end, whether charges are filed is up to the DA, but we’re very mindful of the fact this is a family that just lost a son,” Barasch said. “There’s nothing we can do that’s worse than what they’ve already gone through.”

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