Mourning The Death of A Friend

22 Jun

Yearbook photo of Deanna EstradaI’m seldom at a loss for words (ask any of my friends) but my vocabulary has been tested today. A classmate and friend from high school died in a tragic automobile accident early last Friday morning. Like so many our age we went in different directions after high school, not having seen one another since graduation in 1982. However, as I was reconnecting with many of my classmates from high school, our paths crossed once again. Unfortunately I’ve been preoccupied with my job search and Deanna herself, having been laid off from her job a few months back, had left Dallas to return to Carlsbad where she was [temporarily] staying with her parents. Even so I had hoped to meet up with her on one of my trips back to my hometown (I still have family there) for lunch, to discuss old times and catch up on what was going on in each other’s lives.

This afternoon I received an email from a friend of hers with a phone number to call. Patricia was reaching out to friends of Deanna’s, to let them know she had been in an accident while in Carlsbad and that she had died.

The investigation of Deanna’s death is ongoing and the results of a tox screen, as of this date, has not yet come back. We won’t know for a while what exactly happened. From what I have heard she was out with a hometown friend, having drinks at the Stevens [hotel] bar there in town. Deanna was last seen around 1:15 a.m. Friday morning and was reported as a missing person prior to the discovery of her body and the car she was driving later that same day.

At around 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. Friday morning residents in the 2900 block of Standpipe road called 911 to report that they heard what they believed to have been a very bad accident. They had gone out to investigate but saw no evidence of a car in the dark. Her red BMW convertible, lying upside down in a ravine some [estimated] forty feet below and beyond the end of a driveway, was not discovered until around six or seven in the evening later in the day. Investigators think she may have been traveling an estimated 85 mph at which time her car collided with a mound that was about six feet high (including the incline). The mound of rubble, some of which consisted of blocks of cement, took off the front bumper and a portion of the undercarriage before causing the vehicle to become airborne some 125 feet. It’s believed the car then landed nose first in the ravine, bounced approximately four feet into the air and fell over onto itself top down. I can’t say with certainty but suspect Deanna most likely died quickly, suffering very little if at all (I hope that is the case).

The question is “How did this happen?” I’m told Deanna was not one to drink heavily. When out with friends she ‘might’ have 2 to 4 drinks but those would be spread out over a number of hours. The friend with whom she was with at the bar has apparently mentioned that a man was bothering Deanna all evening, forcing his attentions upon her. She kept telling him no but his persistence eventually wore thin, at which time she’s thought to have become a little more ‘clear’ in her rebukes. (Let’s face it; some people simply do not accept “No!” as a response readily. {sigh})

As indicated previously the investigation is ongoing but early evidence suggests Deanna never applied her brakes. Furthermore, there was no indication that the trajectory of the car ever veered from the path of the driveway. There’s no presence of a second set of tracks ON the driveway either. I suppose she could have passed out from the consumption of more alcohol than is thought to have been consumed, or perhaps she was drugged (something slipped into her drink at the bar)… Sadly, we hear about this happening all too often in the larger cities so I suppose the same could have happened in Carlsbad as well.) The police did also consider the possibility of a suicide though no note has been found and those close to her have stated she would never consider suicide (and I believe that to be the case, as I can’t even imagine the Deanna I knew from back in school would consider this).

There is also the chance that perhaps Deanna was preoccupied (purely speculation at this point in time) with trying to get away from someone. Perhaps the man at the bar was tailing her if he had seen her leave. If this were the case it would explain why she drove past the home of her parents, not wanting a stalker to know where she was staying. Patricia said she did not have a cellphone with her at the time.

Or perhaps the brakes on the car failed at some point, which would explain the lack of evidence she had attempted to slow the car along the driveway leading up to where the vehicle became airborne. (Supposedly, the car was previously involved in a serious accident and Deanna had had to negotiate with the insurance company who wanted to total it.)

There are any number of theories at this time and investigators won’t know until a full investigation is completed and the results of the tox screen comes back. I’m hoping the Carlsbad P.D. will discover the true cause of the accident because Yearbook photo of Deanna EstradaDeanna was a sweet girl (as a classmate) and I can’t imagine her having changed all that much over the years. I think we owe it to her to find out what really happened early that morning.

The world is a much poorer place for Deanna’s absence within it and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family during these most difficult of times. (Deanna is pictured within the above photo, leaning on the railing to the far left.) I don’t believe I can ever recall a time when she did not have a smile on her face; that was just the kind of girl she was. If memory serves correct I first met Deanna Estrada in junior high (I knew many of the other girls she would hang out with from Eddy Elementary). She and other friends of hers Yearbook photo of Deanna Estrada(Laurencia Fierro, Yvonne Balderrama, Cynthia ??, Belinda and Brenda Sarabia [twins] just to name a few), could often be found hanging out together. They were really all quite beautiful girls but two stand out for me as being the most authentic and the kindest; Deanna, sometimes the quietest of the group (not often … LOL), was probably the one who reached out to others the most, making them feel at ease in their surroundings. That was just the kind of girl that she was, with an infectious smile that radiated happiness, and from what I understand she never allowed the hard knocks that so many of us experience growing up to change her in any way.

Let this be a reminder to each of those who follow my blogs that life is precious, fragile and (all too often) far too short. We can never really know when our time here on Earth is come to an end. In light of this tragic loss of such a beautiful person I’d like to take a moment to just say, that as friends, you each mean so very much to me. I may not say that often enough. And in closing I will simply say that (as you can see for yourself from the photo to the left) Deanna was as beautiful today as she was as a young girl. May she rest in peace.


Scan of what Deanna Estrada wrote in my Senior YearbookClick on the image to the left to see what Deanna wrote in my Senior Yearbook. For the life of me I’m not sure why she said I was “mean!” LOL. (I’m guessing it was because, as children, we sometimes teased one another.) Heck, we weren’t always real close and we travelled in different circles but our friendship went back, as Deanna so aptly put it, “many, many years.” My deepest regret this week is that we will never have that lunch and the opportunity to catch up after so many years. Let this be a lesson to those reading this blog. Don’t put off the chance to reconnect with good friends; make the time if necessary because, well, you just never know what the future has in store for either of you.


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About The Author

54-years old and determined to sail through life with a smile (but sometimes brash as hell). LOL. Born and raised in Carlsbad, New Mexico but having lived more than half of my life in Texas. Raised with a strong faith in God but describe myself more as simply a faithful person rather than a Christian. (Too many people rely on their religious 'beliefs' as an excuse to maintain a closed mind rather than emulate the loving nature I believe Jesus Christ did represent.) Registered as a Democrat but fiscally I'm probably more likely to identify with the Republicans. Am equally disgusted with both parties at the moment and tired of the status quo in Washington, D.C. I'm a spiritualist who believes you should reach for your dreams and believes you can attain them, for the only thing that really stands between you and your goals ... is yourself. Favorite quote of recent is "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, the present is a 'present' (a gift)..." —Author unknown

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  1. N1Spirit

    August 22, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    I haven’t heard anything more but will send a short message to a former classmate who might have more information. (If he does and is willing to share it with me I’ll post it here…) Deanna was taken from her family and friends MUCH too soon, on that I think we can all agree. /sigh/


  2. Shannon Williamson

    August 21, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Wow, I am shocked and saddened. I just now heard of this and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

    Do we know the cause of what happened as of today?

    Rest In Peace.

  3. Mark Venegas

    August 2, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for your blog article on the loss of Deanna Estrada. I always liked Deanna growing up in school. She was smart, very active in school and a nice person. This is so sad and I just found out about her death by a friend of mine in California George Garcia. I was shocked and very sad.

    My prayers and thoughst are with her family in Carslbad, New Mexico. Thanks again for writing your blog about Deanna.


    Mark A. Venegas, PHR
    San Francisco, California

  4. annouse

    July 25, 2009 at 5:15 am

    hi. great article!

  5. Gary Alford

    June 29, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Very nice writeup on Deanna, and you describe her perfectly. I had the pleasure of working at the same company with her, and getting to know her somewhat. She was bright, energetic, always eager to help, and had an honest, matter-of-fact demeanor. I will miss her, as will as well as all who knew her. She’s in God’s hands now.

  6. Steve Martinez

    June 24, 2009 at 2:08 am


    Nice to read such a touching description of Deanna. We will really miss her. I have not seen her since our 10 year. Even though I sometimes thought of her. I knew her from elementary through graduation and a little after. And I cannot picture her driving in the wrong ‘state of mind’. I will always remember her as one of the sweetest people i ever knew.


  7. Susie Smietanski

    June 23, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you for wriiting about Deanna. The way you remember her is exactly how she was. I posted your link on my FB page. My daughter and I are heading down to Carlsbad tomorrow. She and Deanna were very close and we thought of Deanna as part of our family