Belen woman killed in single-vehicle rollover crash

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Loretta Garcia was an outgoing person whose smile lit up a room.

Loretta Garcia: Died in rollover on Tuesday

But that image is now just a memory after the 25-year-old Belen woman died in a single-vehicle rollover along Interstate 25 near mile marker 208 on Tuesday night.

Garcia, who was traveling northbound, lost control of her 2005 Saab and veered from the right lane across the median and onto the southbound lanes of I-25 about 10:20 p.m. Her car flipped several times and she was ejected from the vehicle, according to Isleta police. She died on the way to the hospital.

The woman was on her way to Albuquerque to pick up her fiancĂ©, Christopher Brooks, from his parents’ house the night of the crash.

When Garcia didn’t show up, he said he became concerned and called around to hospitals and police departments.

The next day, the man learned of the crash from a neighbor, shortly after he realized no one was at her residence.

“She told me and I didn’t believe it,” Brooks said. “…It hit me like a ton of bricks.”

Friends and family described Garcia as a warm, friendly person who loved people. She was attending beauty school and had a passion for life and a love for animals.

“She was full of energy,” said Mela Esquibel, her grandmother. “She would help me out a lot. We were a lot alike in so many ways. We liked to cook and we could sit and watch movies together.”

Her mother, Viola Esquibel, said Garcia, a 2005 graduate of Infinity High School, was “always smiling and dancing” and could get along with anyone.

She said she will remember the smiles and hugs she received from her daughter.

“She was always trying to have a good time,” she said.

Brooks said he “instantly” fell in love after he met Garcia at a call center in Albuquerque where the two worked together. He said he and Garcia liked to travel and the pair took trips to places such as San Diego and Las Vegas.

He said Garcia was an avid animal lover and would often take in stray dogs.

“She always had a positive outlook on life,” Brooks said. “She was strong-willed and optimistic. She was an awesome person. I loved her more than anyone else in my life.”

The family is looking for someone to take Garcia’s three dogs and are looking for a good home for the animals. If you are interested, you can contact Brooks at 659-1601.

A visitation is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. At 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, a funeral Mass is scheduled at the church.

Mela Esquibel said she will miss her granddaughter.

“It’s sad,” Esquibel said. “It’s very hard.”


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.