An 18-year-old man who died in a crash Friday night when a suspected drunken driver turned in front of him was a popular Falcon High School senior on the student council.
Michael Finley was a month away from graduating with the Class of 2017.
"People need to think before they pick up their keys and drive," said his sister, Carlie Astor. "They never know whose brother or family member they're going to take when they do that."
In addition to student council, Finley had been in ROTC and had been on the football team, Astor said.
"He made friends with everybody at that school," Astor said. "He made it a point to make sure that we all knew that we were loved."
Finley worked at Culver's Restaurant, where he trained new employees, and had aspirations of one day becoming a police officer. He was planning to register for classes this week at Pikes Peak Community College, she said.
A GoFundMe page that Astor set up to defray funeral expenses had raised more than $16,500 by Saturday evening.
His Facebook profile showed an outpouring of messages from grieving friends and family members.
"You touched so many lives at Falcon. You were one of the most positive and genuine people I have ever had the pleasure to know," one friend posted.
"It was truly a blessing to have you in my life," another wrote.
Astor called the postings a testament to Finley's character.
"We are so grateful to everybody who has donated or prayed for us or said any kind words," Astor said.
Her brother was driving home from a friend's house when he was killed, she said.
The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, 52-year-old Michael Fay, is facing driving under the influence and vehicular homicide charges, said Trooper Alisha Danko, a Colorado State Patrol spokeswoman.
The crash happened just after 6:40 p.m. at East Woodmen and Golden Sage roads in El Paso County. Fay, who was driving west on Woodmen Road, attempted to turn left onto Golden Sage Road in front of Finley, who was traveling east on Woodmen Road. The front of Fay's SUV collided with the left side of Finley's car, Danko said.
Finley died at the crash scene. Fay was not hurt. Both drivers were wearing seat belts, Danko said.
In addition to other charges, Fay, who lives in Cascade, was also arrested on suspicion of failure to present evidence of insurance, Danko said.
Finley's death was the latest in a series of tragedies this year for Falcon School District 49, the region's third largest with nearly 21,000 students.
On April 8, D-49 administrator Julia Roark was killed when she was struck by a car while riding her bike with her husband on Woodmen Road. Rachel Dewey, who taught eighth-grade social studies at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy, died March 19 in a fall while skiing on Pikes Peak. About a month before, on Feb. 14, D-49 transportation director Richard Gene Hammond was found shot to death in his car about a half-mile from his Denver home. His death remains an unsolved homicide.
"Our district is not meant to bear the amount of loss we've suffered. Together we will. We must," D-49 spokesman Matt Meister said in a post on the district's website Saturday.
Contact Rachel Riley: 636-0108