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Close friends identify 84-year-old woman killed in drag racing wreck

June 27, 2013 Updated: June 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm
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photo - Jean Davis. Photo courtesy of Ann Laird
Jean Davis. Photo courtesy of Ann Laird 

Jean Davis was returning home from a church dinner at a friend's house when her car was slammed head-on by a car going about 90 mph on Constitution Avenue, close family friends said Thursday.

Davis, 84, died at the scene, and the 25-year-old woman driving the Mazda that hit her car died later at Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs police said.

Police believe the younger woman, whose name has not been released, was racing a third vehicle west along Constitution when the crash occurred about 8:30 p.m. Sunday just east of North Circle Drive. Police confirmed Thursday that they had taken a man into custody in connection with the crash, but refused to release his name. Police said no one has been charged in connection to the crash, which they believe happened when the Mazda went out of control.

Doug Laird and his sister, Ann, said they were notified early Monday of Davis' death. They met Davis decades ago when their parents became close friends with Davis and her husband, Richard, when they moved to Colorado Springs in 1970.

"As far back as I can remember, we have referred to Jean as 'Aunt Jean,'" Ann Laird said. "Our children have grown up calling her 'grandma Jean.'"

Jean Hudson was born in Dallas, Texas, and married Richard Davis in 1948. Their only son, Richard Jr., was killed in Vietnam in 1970. After 32 years of marriage, Richard died in 1980, the Lairds said.

For the next 12 years, Jean worked as the personal shopper and fashion consultant for the former Joslin's store and hosted a weekly television spot, "Focus on Fashion" with KRDO for five years.

She retired in 1995 and remained an active member of the Colorado Springs community, volunteering with the advisory board of the Salvation Army, with the Auxiliary at Memorial Hospital and with the The Tale Tellers Troupe, telling stories at schools.

"She was a classy, versatile lady," Ann Laird said. "She had her own personal style and was truly a genuine person."

Ann said she will never forget the day when she opened Davis' refrigerator and found eggs sitting in a crystal bowl.

When she asked Davis about the eggs, Davis said, "Well, isn't it nicer to look at a crystal bowl rather than an old cardboard box?"

The Lairds' childhood was filled with special moments and details of Davis' life, one of their favorites being the "magic chair."

"From the time my sister and I were kids, every time we went to Jean's house, we got to get one treat out of a bucket she placed next to the 'magic chair,'" Doug Laird said. "Every child under the age of 10 was allowed to go to the magic chair every time they walked through her door."

Upon hearing about Davis' death, Ann's daughter Kristina Ritchie burst into tears.

"Who is going to help me with my wedding?" Kristina asked. "I want it to be perfect and only grandma Jean knows how to do that."

Doug Laird said the El Paso County Coroner's Office initially called Ann to notify her of Davis' death.

"She got a call at 2 a.m. and they told her Jean's car got hit by another car, at a high rate of speed, approximately 90 mph," he said. "Jean was probably doing about 30 mph, knowing how she drove."

The Lairds' focus Thursday was cherishing Davis' memory, instead of her tragic death.

"We spent every single holiday with her for the last 30 years," Ann Laird said.

In an obituary Davis had prepared for herself, she referred to the Lairds as her "special chosen family in Colorado."

Ann Laird said Davis had been at a friend's house Sunday evening. That friend told Ann that before she drove away, Jean reached out of the window, touched the friend's face and said, "I love you, darling."

"Little did we know that those would be her last words ever," Ann Laird said.

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