“If I could trade places with Carla Steele, I would do it in a heartbeat.”
Laura Carter about the July 29 fatal vehicle crash involving her son, Joshua Ward, and Carla Steele
Laura Carter, mother of late Hayden resident Joshua Ward, spoke emotionally Friday about her son and the fatal vehicle crash that claimed his life as well as former Hayden police officer Carla Steele.
“If I could trade places with Carla Steele, I would do it in a heartbeat,” Carter said. “I feel so terrible for her family and I wish there was something I could do.”
Carter and her husband, Cliff, were traveling Friday to Oklahoma to have a memorial service for Ward with friends and family.
Ward was Carter’s only child.
Ward collided with Steele on July 29 on U.S. Highway 40 east of Craig while he was allegedly passing in a no passing zone.
Steele died that night at The Memorial Hospital in Craig. She was 48.
Ward died Tuesday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction from massive head trauma. He was 20.
The Colorado State Patrol reported Ward was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. Troopers also suspect him of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Carter said those suspicions of substance use involving the crash may not be true, however.
She said she and her husband moved in September 2010 to Hayden with Ward’s dog, Sace.
Upon arriving in Hayden, the Carters learned their rental home did not have a fenced yard, which meant they had to keep Sace in a pen during the day while they were away at work.
Caring for Sace is what brought Ward to Colorado, Carter said.
“That is why Joshua moved out here,” she said. “He wanted to take care of his dog until we found a more permanent place to live.”
The day of the crash, the Carters were packing their home in Hayden for a move to Craig.
Ward was at the Craig swimming pool with a friend and family members that day, Carter said, not out drinking.
Carter also said her son didn’t use illegal drugs. She said he had a prescription for Adderall.
“I didn’t like that he had it,” Carter said. “It worried me when he took it because sometimes he didn’t eat right, sleep right or act right.”
Ward insisted on taking Adderal despite her worries because he thought it helped him focus on his work, Carter said.
Ward was writing articles for an online company.
Carter wonders if Ward’s Adderal prescription had something to do with the alcohol and drug suspicions.
“Josh would never have gotten in his car intoxicated,” Carter said. “I don’t want anyone thinking he was a murderer. He made a terrible, tragic mistake, and there’s no doubt about that.
“I know Josh would not have wanted to survive since she (Steele) didn’t.”
A memorial service for Ward will take place at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Floral Haven Memorial Gardens Chapel in Broken Arrow, Okla.
Services for Steele will take place at 3 p.m. today at Hayden Congregational Church.
Interment will follow at Hayden Cemetery.
Carter said her thoughts are with the Steele family.
“I just pray that the Steele family will be OK,” she said. “And, that they’ll be able to understand someday.”
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.