LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– Valerie Robertson-Young says April 25 was the worst day of her life. That’s the day that a semi crashed into dozens of vehicles on Interstate 70 in Lakewood, killing four people and leaving 10 others injured.
“I’m glad I’m alive. I made it out,” she said tearfully that afternoon.
Three weeks later, Valerie still can’t escape the horrific scene.
“When I close my eyes, I see the accident over and over,” she told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
A speeding semi narrowly missed Valerie’s silver Hyundai last month before crashing into the cars right in front of her on I-70 near Colorado Mills Parkway. The crash caused a deadly inferno on the interstate.
“I felt guilty for moving over,” she said. “Originally I was in the middle lane and I got over and one of the cars where I was got ran over. The truck went right over the top of that. Somebody lost their life.”
Valerie said she sought the help of a victim’s advocate for counseling and takes sleeping pills to help her rest.
“I’m just trying to move on,” she said.
Yet moving anywhere, she said, is tricky. Valerie’s vehicle was collected as evidence and authorities are not ready to give it back.
“They won’t even let us get pictures of our cars,” she said. “I’ve put in a claim [to insurance], but I can’t move forward. I can’t do anything.”
Valerie said her insurance company will cover the cost of a rental car for three weeks, but that time is just about up.
“Once that’s done then it’s going to be out of my pocket,” she said.
It’s an expense, she continued, she’s not sure how long she can afford.
“It’s a lot and it adds up,” Valerie said, adding public transportation isn’t a viable option for her commute from Thornton to Golden.
Valerie said she understands the fiery crash is a complex investigation, but she feels keeping the cars of the victims – especially the cars that didn’t completely burn — just adds salt to the wound.
“In the three weeks’ time that they’ve had them,” she said, “they could’ve taken pictures or video. I think that’s more than enough time. I think it’s time to let the vehicles go and let people start to rebuild.”
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s spokesperson said investigators are working to return personal property as quickly as possible.