Eagle teen honored year after fatal crash | VailDaily.com

Eagle teen honored year after fatal crash

Paul Shockley
Grand Junction Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Paul Shockley/Grand Junction Free PressVern Brock, of Eagle, walks past a photo montage and a tree planted in memory of his late son, Jacob Brock.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” There’s a tree standing about 10 feet tall these days in front of Grand Mesa Hall at Mesa State College.

White blossoms should be popping in a few weeks on the spring snow crabapple, which was planted last fall in memory of 19-year-olds Jacob Brock, of Eagle, and Jennifer Kois, of Brighton.

The tree never bears fruit.

A year to the day after ex-cop Patrick Strawmatt slammed into a car on Interstate 70 and killed Brock and Kois, family and friends gathered at Mesa State Saturday to remember the teens while calling for stricter drunk-driving measures.

“There cannot be another Park County,” a teary Peter VonFeldt, Kois’ stepfather, told a crowd of several dozen.

Strawmatt was arrested for driving drunk in Park County ” punching Park County’s sheriff and ramming the sheriff’s car in the process ” just over a month before the deadly March 22, 2007, crash in Mesa County.

Strawmatt walked out of the Park County Jail on $15,000 bond the day after his arrest. Strawmatt, already on felony probation, was restricted by Park County Magistrate Larry Allen from consuming alcohol, but Strawmatt’s driving privileges weren’t touched.

Jonathan Williams, 19, a Mesa State sophomore, wasn’t talking legal reform Saturday afternoon.

Williams, or “Cali” as he was known to Kois, misses his friend.

Williams celebrated Kois’ 19th birthday with her at Johnny Carino’s in Grand Junction ” just a few weeks before Kois was killed.

“It just doesn’t seem like a year,” Williams said.

“Keep shining down on us,” he said, glancing toward the sky. “And let heaven know what earth is missing.”

Vern Brock, Jacob Brock’s father, said he laughed when he heard a recent media report predicting redheads, like his son, won’t be around in 100 years.

Jacob Brock played hockey for Mesa State and had a penchant for missing team bus trips to games ” he drove himself and was usually on time.

“His red hair defined his spirit and outlook on life,” Brock said.

Strawmatt is serving a 72-year prison term at the state’s Sterling Correctional Facility. He’ll be parole eligible at age 93 in December 2058, according to state records.

Vern Brock, meanwhile, lives a “daily struggle.”

“You find ways to get around it.”

“They were happy, they were innocent, and they were in love,” Brock said. “I don’t think all of us will be able to say that at the end.”

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