Family, friends remember Jenna Erickson, who died Saturday |

Family, friends remember Jenna Erickson, who died Saturday

22-year-old was killed in a car accident near Steamboat

Jack Weinstein

Jenna Erickson, 22, was killed in a car accident west of Steamboat on Saturday.

— Friends, family and co-workers have no shortage of ways to describe Jenna Erickson.

Ask roommate Leigh Mastin and she'll say vibrant, bubbly, full of energy, spontaneous and extremely friendly. Ryan Sim­­ms, manager of Black Tie Ski Rentals, where Erickson worked full-time since November, said it was obvious she enjoyed life from the constant smile on her face.

And Erickson's mom, June, like any doting mother, could go on forever.

"She was fun-loving. She was funny. She was adventurous," June Erickson said. "She was very mature and level-headed, but she knew how to have a good time. She knew how to play the dumb blonde, but she wasn't a dumb blonde. She was the kid that any mother would want to have."

Erickson, 22, was killed in a car crash Saturday night on U.S. Highway 40 just west of Steamboat. The Crofton, Md., native would have turned 23 this weekend. Instead, her family will hold a funeral for her in Mary­land.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, troopers were called at 7:33 p.m. to mile marker 129 on U.S. 40, near M&M Auto. Erickson was driving a 1994 Buick LeSabre eastbound on U.S. 40 when the car drifted across the snow-packed road into the westbound lane. It was struck on the passenger side by a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup driven by 49-year-old David Moll, of Steamboat.

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Erickson, Moll and his passenger, 51-year-old Mary Ray, also of Steamboat, were taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center.

Doctors at YVMC worked for three hours to save Erickson, but the injuries to her abdomen, chest and head were too severe. Moll and Ray suffered minor injuries and were treated and released.

June Erickson said her daughter's love for the outdoors, skiing, hiking and kayaking attracted her to Steamboat during her first visit in January 2010. She moved to town by the end of the month, leaving the University of Mary­land six credits shy of a degree in Japanese.

"She absolutely loved the Steam­boat community," June Erick­son said. "She loved the people there. She felt very welcome there. She felt very safe there. She made some wonderful friends from all walks of life."

It didn't take Erickson long to make an impact in Steamboat.

Mastin said Erickson would be missed by a lot of friends. Julie Taulman, executive director of Steamboat Adaptive Recre­ation­al Sports, where Erickson volunteered, said in an e-mail that she was a great asset to the success of the program that serves people with disabilities. Chris Ward, owner of Aloha's, a medical marijuana dispensary in Milner where Erickson worked part time, said she was part of the store's family.

Her boyfriend, Max Atwell, said everyone liked her.

"I just want her to know how much I miss her and how much I care about her and how much I love her," Atwell said Wednesday. "I just want everyone to know that the world is truly a lesser place without her."

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail

Memorial service

A memorial service and funeral are Friday and Saturday in Maryland. June Erickson said her family plans to visit Steamboat in spring for a memorial service at Fish Creek Falls. Donations can be made in Jenna Erickson’s name to STARS, P.O. Box 770208, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477, or by calling 970-870-1735.

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