Colleagues remember former Hayden officer



Carla Steele


Joshua Ward


“Carla was a very honored and respected police officer by all of us at the Hayden Police Department. I would go into any situation with Carla at my back.”

— Gordon Booco, chief of the Hayden Police Department, on former officer Carla Steele, who died Friday in a vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 40

Colleagues of a Hayden woman and former town police officer who died Friday in a vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 40 recalled her Monday with fond memories.

Carla Steele, 48, died in a head-on collision about a half-mile east of Wyman Museum.

It’s believed Steele was on her way to Tri-State Generation & Transmission, where she worked as a security guard.

“Carla was a very honored and respected police officer by all of us at the Hayden Police Department,” Police Chief Gordon Booco said. “She was wonderful to work with, and I would go into any situation with Carla at my back.”

Steele was traveling west toward Craig when Joshua Ward, 20, also of Hayden, allegedly struck Steele’s vehicle while attempting to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone, said Trooper Nate Reid of the Colorado State Patrol public affairs office.

Reid said Steele was taken to The Memorial Hospital in Craig, where she died.

The state patrol reported Ward died Tuesday morning at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he was taken following the crash.

Ward was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Reid said.

Booco said he has known Steele since their time at the police academy.

“Carla was very outgoing, very happy and full of life,” Booco said. “We had a lot of great times together and we had a lot of tough times together.”

Hayden police officer Russ Davis also attended the police academy with Steele when she became post certified in May 1995. She started as a reserve officer with the Hayden Police Department until she was hired full time in October 2000.

“Carla fit in real well with all of us,” Davis said. “We referred to her many times as just one of the guys. She was treated as an equal, she did her job and she was very book smart.

“She was a good officer, and she was well liked and well respected by the members of the community and the department.”

Steele worked as a full-time officer in Hayden until her retirement in May 2009.

In that time, she was active with the Sexual Assault Response and Domestic Violence teams.

However, Booco said it was Steele’s training as an emergency medical technician that made her a valuable addition to the department.

“Her training as an EMT came in handy many times as a police officer because we were usually the first ones on the scene,” he said. “She was able to do a lot of things beyond CPR until the ambulance got there. She functioned very well under stressful circumstances.”

Steele received her EMT training at Colorado Northwestern Community College from Hayden Fire Chief Bryan Rickman.

“As a student, she was great,” Rickman said. “She was very bright and had very little trouble with the material. It just came naturally to her.”

In addition to her career as a police officer, Steele also volunteered with the Hayden Fire Department and served as captain of the Emergency Medical Services division from 2006 to 2009.

“She was as good of an employee as you could ever ask for,” Rickman said. “She was very cool-headed. She was a great lady, just rock solid. It’s really a loss to the community.”

Booco said Steele’s death is felt by many in Hayden.

“In a town of this size, when you lose someone like Carla, the community really feels it,” he said.

Steele is survived by four children, Anthony, Allan, Anna and Andrea.

A service will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hayden Congregational Church. Burial will take place at Hayden Cemetery.

A memorial fund for Steele has been established at Mountain Valley Bank. Donations can be accepted at either the Hayden or Steamboat Springs branches. Proceeds will benefit a scholarship fund.

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westrouttrez 5 years, 8 months ago

I believe it is extremely poor taste on the part of the Craig Daily Press to publish a photograph of Carla's MURDERER in a story honoring her and the life she dedicated to helping others. Mr. Ward's selfish, arogant and egotistical behavior senslessly took the life of a very wonderful person entirely to early not to mention needlessly placing many others in harms way last Friday evening. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves and should remove this photograph of him at once!


lonelyone 5 years, 8 months ago

Westrouttrez, you have a point. I think you should maybe contact Bryce or write a letter to the Editor. I find Bryce to be pretty easy to get along with and I think he'd listen to what you have to say.


misterwhiskers 5 years, 8 months ago

I am by no means making a Wrong a Right....

However, to adhere to a factual base..which is what a news syndication does...allow me to refer back to a quote from the article "Ward was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Reid said."

"suspected" ...much like "guilty until proven innocent"

When they have the toxicology reports back, then they can verify if this was Alcohol and/or Drug related and then you can judge him.

If it was your kid, you would be infuriated to have someone make that accusation until it was proven.

Again, I am not standing up for anyone or trying to make this right.... But, there is a process and the Daily Press followed it appropriately (for once)

No matter what....this is a horrible shame and i can not imagine the pain felt by both families right now.


misterwhiskers 5 years, 8 months ago

correction ~ "innocent until proven guilty" ...sorry, typing from a cell phone


oklahomagirl 5 years, 8 months ago

Westrouttrez, Josh also lost his life in this accident. The article says SUSPECTED of being under the influence not confirmed. This is not a case of murder but a horrible tragedy. Please have some respect for his family also and not refer to him as a murderer. Rip Carla & Josh.


dogfan 5 years, 8 months ago

What would you refer to him as? He was passing in a no passing zone. There is definitely no way he could of seen anybody coming to know if it was clear to pass. He took the life of a very nice and very respected lady.


Colette Erickson 5 years, 8 months ago

The idiotic and criminal driving that takes place on Hwy 40 on a daily basis is insane. Folks, think about this tragedy before YOU pass in a no passing zone, or do something else moronic. You will get to the traffic signal at Hwy. 40 and 129 at the same time as I do - have seen it happen many times. Not worth possibly ruining many lives to gain, literally, seconds on your travel time.


oklahomagirl 5 years, 8 months ago

I wasn't saying he didn't make a mistake. He obviously did. However, a murderer is someone who deliberately takes someones life. I grew up with him, and he was a very kind person. I'm just saying have some respect for all parties involved. If he was your brother, son, friend etc. I'm sure you wouldn't be so quick to judge. Again, horrible preventable tragedy and I pray for both families.


westrouttrez 5 years, 8 months ago

To quote oklahomagirl "a murderer is someone who deliberately takes someones life". Will you please remind me exactly what it was that Mr. Ward did? If his actions were not "deliberate" then I don't know what else is!!!

@ misterwhiskers... I have no problem with the article. The article was well written and factual and portrayed Carla as she was, a dedicated public servant who spent a great deal of her adult life selflessly protecting her community from the scum that inhabits this earth. My problem, however, is with Mr. Wards photograph being attached to an article about a wonderful person who was taken from this earth far to soon!
"Memorialize" him someplace else, this article is not the appropriate place!


misterwhiskers 5 years, 8 months ago

I won't say names...but a Craig resident fell asleep while driving and killed their infant child and another Craig resident.....that person was not ever labeled a murderer and was in just as equally negligent of a situation..


lawman 5 years, 8 months ago

mr whiskers,

sorry to say but there is a differance between falling to sleep at the wheel and going out on the town drinking which is illegal!!! and for those of you who believe that this is not murder you are the problem. believe it or not the law states that you can not drive while under the influence of alcohol. and doing so is a deliberate act. meaning you knew what you were doing was wrong and created a substantial risk to others. in colorado it is called vehicular hommocide same as murder. i dont pretend to know Joshua but i did know Carla and considered her a very good friend. i also trust the CSP in these matters and if they believe that he was DUI there was a very good chance tht he was. for his friend and family i fill sorry for you. however, do not try and minimize what he did. he knew at the time he got into his vehicle that he should not have been driving and because of his actions two people are now dead.


lawman 5 years, 8 months ago

forgive the typos was rather pissed when i wrote the above statement and did not proof read what i had


Harlan 5 years, 8 months ago

"Steele is survived by four children, Anthony, Allan, Anna and Andrea" - who will be kept in my prayers.

Carla is a great lady, and her physical presence will be greatly missed.


Anna1323 5 years, 8 months ago

Oklahomagirl.......... I am Carla's daughter and i want to say one thing to you..... Imagine if it was your mom. would you defend him then i don't think so. It is horrible that you would even post such things under an article honoring my mother. You say he was a noble man. How is that he took my mom from this community and her family. She has 4 children and 6 grandchildren and one on the way. If this is your definition of Noble you need to review simple vocabulary! He is a murder who deserves to burn in hell for taking my mothers life!!!!


Anna1323 5 years, 8 months ago

and another thing intoxicated or not....... he killed my mother..... how can that be defended!!!!!!!! He chose to pass in a no passing zone on a blind corner. His stupidity and ignorance took my mothers life and i wish that he didn't die..... i wanted him to rot in prison for the rest of his life and feel nothing but guilt and regret!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


lonelyone 5 years, 8 months ago

I didn't know until now that Mr. Ward had died too. Sorry for his family too.

Anna, I am so sorry for the pain you and your family are dealing with right now. I didn't know your Mom very well. Met her a few times at the guard shack at the plant and she seemed very nice.

I understand that you have a lot of anger towards Mr. Ward, but don't let it eat you up. It will do you no good and will not bring your Mother back and it is wasted as Mr. Ward will feel none of it. He made the mistake, not his family and right now they are dealing with his death and the fact that he killed your Mother. I'm sure many people are praying for both families as you grieve


Micbru 5 years, 8 months ago

My deepest sympathies go to the family of Carla, She was always so much fun when I would come to work. I always loved her smile and her great attitude. I miss her alot, and we were only friends at work. What a waste of a beautiful person.


Reaver 5 years, 8 months ago

Prayers to both families. I realize Mr. Ward was at fault, however losing a 20 year old son is hard, just like losing a mother is. My sympathies to all parties involved.


bubbasmom 5 years, 8 months ago

My heart breaks for the pain your are going through Anna, you and your entire family and community have suffered an enormous loss.

It is in very poor taste and disrespectful to print a picture of Carla's killer in the same article as her. This article highlighted the good works, generous heart and love of family and community Carla showed year after year.

If you haven't lost someone due to the careless, selfish and illegal acts of another then you don't understand the additional pain and suffer this family is going through.

A person driving drunk, and with drug paraphernalia in their car, passing in a no passing zone, around a blind corner, chose to wipe out any good they may have had in their life. The lack of proper judgement and self control, took the life of a devoted mother and grandmother, while losing their life in the process. This has set off a chain of events that has irreparably ripped apart two families.

Having suffered the loss of my younger brother at the hand of another, I understand the anger and frustration directed towards Ward. Additionally having lost my mother early in life, I also understand how hard it is to say goodbye and try to pick up the pieces and go on.

I am deeply saddened that I will not have the joy of sharing the birth of our newest grandson with Carla in September as planned. But I will always let him know that he and all his family are loved and watched over from above.

Be at peace dear Carla, you made a difference in so many lives and will be deeply missed. \

Much love to Tony, Allan, Anna, Andrea


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