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Woman charged in Colorado crash was told not to drive

By Keith Coffman

THORNTON, Colo (Reuters) - A Colorado woman accused of killing a family of five in a car crash was warned after suffering a seizure in 2006 not to drive until she was seen by a neurologist, according to court documents released on Monday.

Monica Chavez, 34, is charged with five counts of negligent homicide for the February 17 crash in suburban Denver that killed Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their three sons, Sebastian, Darrian and Cyrus.

An arrest warrant affidavit said Chavez blacked out in a grocery store in 2006, and was told by an emergency room physician "not to drive until cleared by a neurologist."

A three-month investigation by Thornton, Colorado police ruled out drugs or alcohol in the accident, but concluded that Chavez lost control of her Ford Expedition after she blacked out from a seizure.

When investigators questioned her about the 2006 incident, Chavez said she didn't follow the doctor's orders because "her family could not afford a specialist," the affidavit said.

In the fatal accident, police said Chavez's out-of-control SUV clipped another vehicle, went airborne after striking a raised median and crushed the Stollsteimer pickup truck, killing the family instantly.

The Expedition then careened into a mattress store, slightly injuring a person inside who was struck by flying glass.

Chavez's two small children, who were in her vehicle, sustained minor injuries. Chavez was treated for a broken foot.

Police also allege in August 2010, Chavez blacked out again in a parking lot, but did not seek medical treatment. She attributed that incident to dehydration.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)

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