SUV Goes Airborne and Lands on Pickup, Killing Family of Five

Family killed instantly when speeding airborne SUV lands on their truck.

Feb. 18, 2011— -- Police are trying to determine what caused a Colorado woman to speed through an intersection and cause a horrendous chain reaction that launched her car into the air and land on a small pickup truck, instantly killing a family of five.

The SUV, a Ford Expedition, was driven by Monica Chavez, 33, who had two young children in the vehicle with her when she began weaving through traffic at high speeds during Thursday's rush hour, police and witnesses said.

"We've not determined the cause of the accident," said Thornton Police Department spokesman Matt Barnes. "We don't know if it was reckless driving, something medical, or drugs and alcohol."

Until the investigation is concluded, Barnes said, charges will not be pressed.

Police are awaiting the results of a toxicology report which Barnes said was still some days away to determine if Chavez was intoxicated at the time.

Chavez was headed south on a highway outside Denver when she drove into an intersection and struck a car that was making a turn in front of Chavez, police reports said. After striking the Mazda, the SUV hit a median that propelled it into the air.

The vehicle landed on top of a small Chevrolet S-10 pickup, crushing it and killing a family of five riding in the truck.

Police were called to the scene in Thornton, Colo., just before 6 p.m. Four bodies were found in the pickup in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Hours later when firefighters and police picked through the wreckage they discovered a fifth body.

The victims in the truck were identified as Randy Stollsteimer and Crystal Stollsteimer and their sons, Sebastian, 12, Darian, 8, and Cyrus, 6.

After landing on the truck, the SUV rolled across a parking lot and crashed into the plate-glass window of a mattress store, injuring one man inside from flying shards of glass.

Paul Roggow, owner of Urban Mattress Store, said the car came careening into his store, demolishing a desk and stopping inches from where he was standing.

What Caused SUV to Go Airborne and Land on Family of Five

"She seemed to be out of it," Roggow told ABC affiliate KMGH-TV. "There didn't seem to be any obvious issues. I can only speculate on why she was driving that fast."

Police said they have not yet determined the speed at which Chavez was driving, but witnesses said it was a "high rate of speed."

Chavez, her two children and the Mazda's driver all remain in the hospital.