Drive started to help Beach family

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A Hayden girl injured in a rollover accident June 20 was in serious condition Tuesday after being downgraded to critical condition late last week, said Devra Ashby, spokeswoman for St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction.

Stormie Beach, 16, was airlifted to Grand Junction when the car she was in skidded off U.S. Highway 40 and rolled down an embankment near Hayden.

Nine people were in the car when it crashed, and none was wearing a seat belt, according to Colorado State Patrol. Seven were transported to hospitals with serious injuries. Investigators suspect the driver, Tomas Marquez, 23, was driving under the influence of alcohol and driving carelessly.

As of Tuesday, authorities were waiting for the results of blood tests on Marquez and had not yet decided whether to file charges against him.

Marquez and Chase Beach, 18, also were airlifted to Grand Junction with serious injuries and were released early last week.

Another injured occupant, Sarah Coyner, 17, was released from Yampa Valley Medical Center on Saturday, hospital spokeswoman Christine McKelvie said.

Brandon Rinker, 21, Levi Heythaler, 17, and Chelsea Merrill, 16, were released from YVMC on June 21.

Stormie Beach's family asked that only adults visit her at the hospital and only after they've spoken with her mother, Libby Beach.

"We've had a lot of kids show up at the hospital who were pretty hysterical, and that's not good for the family to deal with right now, not until Stormie is completely stable and back to consciousness," said 22-year-old Justin Gevara, a friend of the Beaches.

Friends of the Beach family also are raising funds to help with Stormie Beach's medical costs. Because the car was not insured, Medicaid will not cover all the expenses, Gevara said.

"Already, she's been in ICU for six days, so the bill is going to be very expensive," Gevara said Thursday. "Libby Beach is a single mother who runs her own business, and she's out of work right now because she's at the hospital 24 hours a day, so we decided we need to do something to help Libby."

Gevara, along with other friends of the Beaches, set up a bank account at First National Bank of the Rockies and said people can make donations to the Libby Beach Fund at any of the bank's branches.

"All of the money raised will go strictly to paying hospital bills and not for anything else," Gevara said.

After moving from Denver, Gevara and his family lived near the Beaches for four years, and he said he wanted to return the support Libby Beach has given him.

"She's helped me out a lot in times of need, and I wanted to return the favor," Gevara said. "So we're encouraging people to help us out with whatever they can."

Gevara and Joyce E. Moniz, who started the account and made the first deposit, have set up donation jars at businesses and posted fliers about the Beach family's situation.

"I don't even know this family that well, but I have two children. ... I know I'd want someone to do this for me," said Moniz, whose daughter is a student at Hayden High School and friends with Stormie Beach.

Dana Micklick, new accounts representative at First National Bank of the Rockies in Hayden, said between $100 and $200 has been deposited into the account as of Tuesday.

Staff writer Tamera Manzanares contributed to this report.

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