Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The girls got back from Vegas last night, so today was our first day having everyone back at the salon. We all came in early to have a "Foushee Family" meeting, and talk about what's the best way to handle the situation. It's been really hard so far, even before everyone was back. Clients have called because they've heard the news, and many people have called just to schedule appointments with her. It seems so wrong to break the news of Neva's death to her clients. I think they're just as lost as we are, some have even just hung up when they've heard the news. Unfortunately it's going to take awhile before everyone's found out. Even though a lot of people in the area know about the accident, her name wasn't even released until Monday morning. This morning we all cried, a lot. It was hard to be together without her.. I really consider the girls at the salon to be family, and having Neva missing is going to make a huge impact on my daily routine.

They had a memorial service for her tonight, and her funeral and burial will be this weekend in Alamosa which is about 6 hours from Denver. We decided that we aren't all going down for the funeral, but instead will go when they lay her tombstone at her grave. The service tonight was hard. Her family sat in the front row, they all looked as if they were on auto pilot. Some of her extended family spoke, and then Kym and Kara both talked about all of the things we loved about Neva. Kara told this awesome story about how they went to France and took the stairs all the way up the Eiffel Tower and she had to carry Neva on her back to the top. It was great to remember the things we love about Neva. I am so lucky to have known such an amazing girl. She was such an inspiration to me, and I looked up to her.. even though I had to look down to her since she was a full foot shorter than me.

Here's a story that the Rocky Mountain News printed.

Man comes upon fatal accident involving his fiancee

By Hector Gutierrez
Monday, August 4, 2008

Neva Christine Mondragon was expecting to celebrate one of the most memorable days of her life later this year.

The 27-year-old was getting married in October.

On Saturday, she was planning for another big day: her fiance's birthday on Sunday.

But Mondragon was going to Las Vegas on Sunday, so she and another couple decided to celebrate her fiance's birthday on Saturday evening.

She headed out Saturday morning to get her nails done at the beauty salon where she worked, Betty Valdez, her aunt, said. "She left us at 7:30, and we kissed her goodbye."

It was Mondragon's last moment with her family.

When she didn't show up at Salon Foushee and Day Spa in south Jefferson County, her co-workers phoned her aunt.

Her boyfriend, Jose Carlos Maez, was running errands when Mondragon's aunt called him to say she had not shown up at the salon.

Maez decided to look for Mondragon, traveling the route she would have taken south on South Santa Fe Drive.

Perhaps her car had broken down.

Perhaps her cell phone simply was turned off.

When he reached the 5200 block of Santa Fe, Maez came upon a wreck involving three vehicles.

A crushed red Ford sedan belonged to his future bride. She was dead.

"This is what makes it so tragic. He did come upon the accident," Valdez said.

Another driver, Richard S. Hogsett, 36, of Jefferson County, also died at the scene. A third driver, Kelly Joan Horan, 26, was seriously injured and was being treated Monday at Swedish Medical Center.

Littleton police said they think Hogsett, who was driving a Mercedes sedan, was heading in the wrong direction on Santa Fe Drive when his car plowed into a Honda driven by Horan before smashing into Mondragon's Ford.

Hogsett's father was too upset Monday to comment.

Maez proposed to Mondragon last Christmas Eve at the lavish Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. "She was getting married Oct. 18," Valdez said.

Mondragon was born in Denver and attended school in her father's hometown of La Jara in southern Colorado. She graduated from Centauri High School. She then enrolled in beauty school at Emily Griffith Opportunity School, where she earned her cosmetology license in 2002.

Valdez said that she and Mondragon's mother, Ana, own a salon in Cherry Creek, and her niece had followed in their footsteps. Mondragon lived with Valdez in northwest Denver.

"She enjoyed traveling and she loved camping and cooking," Valdez remembered. "She liked to cook and give parties - any kind of outside party - so she could cook and have all her friends over."

In addition to her parents, Mondragon is survived by two brothers, numerous aunts and uncles, and her two grandmothers. Her brother had a 6-month-old nephew who Mondragon just adored, Valdez said.

"She was wonderful, and she had a big, wide smile," Valdez said.

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