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Family stages first Memorial Bike Run honoring son killed in car crash

Diana Sandoval says fundraiser held to buy tombstone
Diana Sandoval, second from right, and friends and family gathered at the Southern Ute Veterans Memorial Park in Ignacio on Saturday morning for the first Memorial Bike Run from Ignacio to Shiprock, N.M., in memory of her son Dominic Sandoval, who was killed by a distracted driver while setting up a work zone on Colorado Highway 172 east of Durango in February 2022. (Christian Burney/Durango Herald)

Despite heavy rains in the Ignacio area Saturday, more than 20 friends, family members and new faces showed up to support Diana Sandoval and her family for the first Memorial Bike Run from Ignacio to Shiprock, New Mexico, honoring her son who was killed by a distracted driver last year.

Riders met at Southern Ute Veterans Memorial Park in Ignacio early Saturday morning where Sandoval waited with a portrait of her son and a folded military memorial flag.

She said her son, Dominic, a U.S. Army specialist, took whatever life threw at him in stride. He enjoyed bike riding and horseback riding and he was Sandoval’s traveling partner.

“I always traveled with him,” she said. “And that’s all I travel with now, his flag.”

Sandoval said the roughly hourlong ride was put together to keep her son’s memory alive and raise money to buy a tombstone for his grave.

Dominic Sandoval, 22, was killed in a car crash in February 2022 east of Durango. (Courtesy of GoFundMe)

She chose a motorcycle ride to honor Dominic in part because her son’s late father enjoyed motorcycles, she said.

Things have been difficult since her son’s passing, she said. She has suffered two strokes and was prescribed medication, although she hasn’t dealt with any side effects from the strokes.

Still, she said she is happy so many people reached out to her after her son’s death and that so many people – friends, family and, in some cases, people she had never met before Saturday – attended the Memorial Bike Run.

Dominic’s death “hit home pretty bad and it affected a lot of people,” she said. “It touched a lot of people.”

In February 2022, Dominic was setting up a work zone with a co-worker on the shoulder of Colorado Highway 172 near mile marker 22 east of Durango when a woman crashed into his work truck, killing him and injuring the other man.

Virginia Cundiff, the woman who caused the crash and killed Dominic, was sentenced to 15 months in La Plata County Jail after a felony charge was dropped because of a technicality. She received another sentence of 10 months in jail for causing another crash that injured a man in August 2021.

The Sandoval family demands justice for recently deceased Spc. Dominic Sandoval, wearing matching red shirts with his portrait. Specialist Sandoval, while working on the roadside, was struck and killed by a motorist on February 10, 2022. (Durango Herald file)

Sandoval said she is not happy with Cundiff’s sentencing and she is still fighting to get justice for Dominic.

“To this day, this is all I’m left with. Just his memories, his flag,” she said.

She said she submitted paperwork to the Colorado attorney general’s office, and Cundiff’s case regarding Dominic’s death is being reinvestigated. Sandoval is pushing for federal charges against Cundiff.

“My fight is not over. I still have to make meetings and make my way back up to D.C. and meet with the people up there, the Department of Justice. I won’t stop until I get justice,” she said.

cburney@durangoherald.com



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