Fundraiser set for New Castle family who lost 3 in SUV collision with bear |

Fundraiser set for New Castle family who lost 3 in SUV collision with bear

Oct. 20 event will help Hernandez family in aftermath of I-70 crash

Those looking to support New Castle’s Hernandez family can help at a potluck, silent auction and concert to be hosted at New Castle’s Burning Mountain Park on Oct. 20.

All proceeds will be donated to the family.

Seven members of the Hernandez family were in an SUV that struck a 300-pound bear on Interstate 70 outside of Rifle on Sept. 29. The grandfather and two girls were killed; the four other occupants were injured.

Family member Heidi Nunez recently gave an update to the Post Independent. As of Sunday, the youngest son, Pancho, was doing much better after being in a medically induced coma following the accident.

She visited him Sunday at a hospital in Denver and said “he is coming along well. He wants to get out of his chair and is able to throw a ball. He is able to say a few words and is healing well.”

His grandmother is also doing much better, but “it will just be a long recovery for both.”

Both of the parents remained in Denver with Pancho as of Sunday.

A funeral for the grandfather, Eugino Hernandez Altamirano, was held last week. The funeral for the two girls has not yet been planned.

Kimberly, 7, and Brizeyda, 15, both attended New Castle-area schools, and their grandfather lived in El Jebel.

Nunez said she wanted to “thank everyone for being so supportive and the help has been very much appreciated.”

“There are a lot of people who want to help, the outpouring has been amazing,” said Michelle Cox with New Castle Gardens, who helped organize the Oct. 20 fundraiser. “This is a wonderful community.”

The Ritter Plaza Music Series became a monthly event in New Castle just this year and after successful shows already in August and September, October’s scheduled show provided the perfect venue for a fundraiser (which starts at 6 p.m.).

Normally in downtown New Castle in Ritter Plaza, the show has been moved to Burning Mountain Park to accommodate what is expected to be a much larger crowd than usual.

“It happened so quickly and so many people volunteered that we decided to move it to Burning Mountain Park,” said Ritter Plaza Music Series organizer Ryan Wilch. “We decided to have a silent auction because we heard from so many businesses across the valley.”

Those looking to donate to the silent auction should bring items to New Castle Gardens to be sold Oct. 20. Cox said she has received many gift certificates from local businesses and art from across the valley.

Guilty Pleasure will perform and attendees should bring food for the potluck. There will be a suggested donation of $10 to go along with the proceeds from the silent auction to support the family.

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