Dog involved in crash returned to victim’s parents |

Dog involved in crash returned to victim’s parents

Dennis Webb

SILT – It was hard enough for Karen Derror to deal with the death of her daughter in a car wreck last week. But knowing that Melissa Newsom’s dog “Chinook” had run away from the scene of the accident and was missing only deepened the sense of loss.”He was my daughter’s best friend,” Derror said Monday.So Derror was able to find some joy after last week’s tragedy when the 12-year-old Australian shepherd/border collie was tracked down Friday. “Finding the dog, in light of everything that happened, just gave me a surge of energy. Just when you think, ‘How am I going to continue?'” Derror said.Newsom, a 33-year-old Silt resident, died last Tuesday in a two-car accident on Interstate 70 just east of the Silt interchange. Her car crossed into westbound I-70 and hit a pickup truck. Derror said the truck’s occupant was treated and released.Her daughter apparently was headed to New Castle to do laundry and buy groceries, and her laundry bag may have protected Chinook from the impact of the accident, Derror said.It took a few false leads, to track Chinook down, but on Friday, Derror said, Chinook was found on a property with some sheep within a few miles of the accident scene.”I’ve been kind of like his grandma for the 12 years that she had him,” Derror said. “Finding the dog was like finding a part of my daughter. Her dog was her little buddy. That’s all she had was her home and her dog and her family here and her friends at work and trying to make a life for herself in the place she loved up in the mountains.”Newsom was a janitorial supervisor for the city of Glenwood Springs. She lived alone with her dog and a kitten and kept busy doing cleaning work on the side, Derror said.”She was looking forward to a new position, being trained to be a purchasing agent for City Hall,” Derror said. “Things were starting to look up; she was a girl and her dog that was trying to make a living and better herself.”Newsom enjoyed reading, skiing, mountain biking and the outdoors, and especially animals, and was the Derrors’ only child, her mother said. “I don’t have grandchildren, just her little dog now,” Derror said.The Derrors plan to keep Chinook and Newsom’s kitten at their home in the Grand Junction area.”For the past two days when I let him out of the house he will go out to the dirt driveway and lie down for a while and look down the road as if he is waiting for Melissa to come,” she said.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism