By Janet Bresenham
She loved to pass out photos of her two daughters. She was looking forward to celebrating her 17th wedding anniversary next weekend in Santa Fe. She was spoiled by her three brothers.
Bobbie Lynn Beaman Sandoval was big on family.
“She was the backbone of the family,” said Candace Gutierrez, Sandoval’s niece. “She took care of everybody. It didn’t matter who it was. She was loved by everyone.”
Sandoval, her husband Gary and their two daughters — Kacie, 14, and Katarina, 11 — were enjoying an annual Fourth of July family gathering Friday at a relative’s house. Moments after watching the city’s fireworks display, a speeding pickup truck slammed into the pickup behind which Bobbie was standing. She was killed.
A 32-year-old Clovis man is being held in the Curry County Adult Detention Center on charges that include vehicular homicide.
“We’re a very close family,” said Amy Keesee-Baize, who lives in the house at 509 W. 18th St. where the party was held. “We always had everybody over for barbecues and swimming parties.”
During the party, friends and family recall hearing Sandoval talk about how much she was looking forward to going to Santa Fe with her husband to celebrate their 17th anniversary on July 12.
“She was a very caring and loving and dedicated mother and wife,” said Peggy Gutierrez, one of Sandoval’s sisters-in-law. “She was always there for the family. She would always help with everything.”
Sandoval, 39, had gone to the curb to get something out of the back of the camper shell of her family’s pickup truck when the accident occurred.
“She was always so organized,” Peggy Gutierrez said. “She always packed her stuff for her family in order in the back of the truck, so she could get it out or take things home.”
Sandoval’s daughter Kacie said her mother’s love started close to home with family and friends and then extended far beyond that.
“She was a licensed daycare provider and the kids she babysat just loved her,” Kacie said. “My Mom was the way she was because her parents, Sophia and Paul Beaman, raised her good.”
Her daughter said Sandoval also enjoyed being spoiled by her older brother, Richard, and her two younger brothers, Frank and Danny.
Sandoval’s two daughters especially were her pride and joy, and she always gave everyone each new photo she had of the girls, family members said.
“She had just brought new school photos of the girls to the party,” Peggy Gutierrez said. “She has photos of every family member in her house. We had just taken a big family photo of all of us holding American flags at our Fourth of July party, so at least we have that photo with her.”
The driver of the truck that hit Sandoval’s truck, Joe Martinez Jr., 32, remained at the Curry County Adult Detention Center Sunday night in lieu of $34,000 bond. Police said the pickup he was driving hit eight vehicles in a violent, high-speed trip through the short city street lined on both sides by hundreds of people celebrating the holiday.
Clovis Police Sgt. Rich Johnson said Officer Rodney Wallace attempted to follow Martinez after he saw him revving his motor and spinning his rear tires at the intersection of 21st and Thornton streets several blocks from where the fatal crash occurred.
Wallace said Martinez drove slowly along Thornton Street after he saw the officer, then suddenly turned east onto 18th Street, hit an occupied car, accelerated and sped down the street, hitting the other vehicles. Wallace turned on his police cruiser’s overhead lights while he was following Martinez on Thornton Street, but did not turn on his unit’s siren until Martinez hit the first vehicle, police said on Sunday.
Martinez’s motivation for fleeing police remained unclear on Sunday night.
“That one guy with one stupid move just crushed an entire family,” said Sandoval’s sister-in-law, Melissa Equia.
“All our hearts are just broken,” Peggy Gutierrez said. “She is going to be missed. We love her and we always will. The whole family — our hearts are so broken.”