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Damages awarded in wrongful death

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 22nd, 2013

Selena Mascarenas

PUEBLO — “Old people die with their achievements, reputations and memories; but the graves of children are filled with opportunities that were never realized and dreams that will remain unfulfilled. Damages speak in terms of loss of aid, comfort, society, love and companionship. But to me, this is just the law’s way of saying what we are to consider in placing a value of a child’s unfulfilled dreams.”

This is what attorney Keith Vance told the judge when he asked her to include in her verdict in a wrongful death suit what are called punitive damages. That is an award of money that is not for compensating the family of Selena Mascarenas, but to send a message to others that drinking and driving not only carries criminal penalties, but money consequences as well, Vance explained.

These damages are to deter others from drinking and driving so that perhaps another family, another community, and another life can be spared the hurt and grief caused by Gilbert Sanchez, 37.

Sanchez was sentenced earlier this year to 68 years in prison for causing the deaths of Alamosa teenagers Mascarenas, 14, Anisa Montoya, 18 and Serina Sena, on April 28, 2012, at the intersection of Northern Ave. and Pueblo Blvd. in Pueblo.

Vance represented Mascarenas’ family in further legal action against Sanchez, which culminated on Friday afternoon with the judge’s verdict.

Pueblo District Court Judge Jill Mattoon agreed with Vance. She entered a judgment for $2.5 million in noneconomic damages and another $2.5 million for punitive damages against Sanchez on Friday afternoon.

For the complete article see the 10-22-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-22-2013 paper.

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