ALBUQUERUQE (KRQE) – The anniversary of the death of a woman killed when an off-duty Albuquerque police officer slammed into her SUV was filled with a lot of emotion and came without justice.
Jordan Chappell said she misses Ashley Browders’ smile, her laugh and her voice.
“Honestly, it doesn’t feel real at all. It feels like yesterday I got the news,” Chappell said. “It’s been a rough year.”
On Feb. 10, 2013, Ashley and her sister Lindsay were hit by a speeding police SUV driven by then-sergeant Adam Casaus. The department fired him shortly after an internal investigation into what happened that night. He was also charged with vehicular homicide.
Ashley died and Lindsay suffered a broken spine. Chappell said she is Lindsay’s best friend. She said losing Ashley was like losing a sister.
“If you’ve ever had somebody who you looked up and looked forward to seeing every day then you know how painful it would be to lose that person; how it would be your worst nightmare,” Chappell said.
It’s a nightmare the family had said could have been avoided. They’ve never believed the story that Casaus claimed to be chasing a drunk driver with lights and sirens on as he ran that red light on Paseo del Norte.
There is also no record Casaus ever made a call to dispatch about that DWI chase.
“The fact that he tried to cover it up – just the thing that’s hard to come to terms with,” Chappell said.
Casaus’s trial was scheduled to start Feb. 3 of this year, but it was postponed.
On a Facebook page dedicated to the sisters, one woman wrote, “I find it disgusting that the officer has had the last year with his family and now he gets several more months.”
“I would like to believe that he has suffered at least half of the amount of pain that we have,” Chappell said.
Chappell said the family wants justice but Monday it was all about remembering Ashley.
“She always made people her first priority,” Chappell said.
Casaus’ trial was delayed because the judge assigned to his case is currently presiding over the Ronald Santiago double murder trial. The District Attorney’s office said it is ready to move forward.
Lindsay has recovered from her injuries.
Her family has started a webpage called Ashley Browder Acts of Kindness. They say the purpose of the page is for others to share something nice they did to keep Ashley’s generous spirit alive.