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Car accident is personal for newspaper editor when daughter dies

September 22, 1997

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) _ As the editor-reporter-photographer and publisher of the Commerce City Beacon, Norm Union is used to calls in the wee hours from police alerting him to fatal car accidents, fires and crimes.

But nothing could prepare him or his wife for the call early Aug. 24, when police told him his 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, had been killed in the crash of a car loaded with eight teen-agers. One of the other passengers also was killed.

``I don’t know why, but we had a very bad feeling about her being out that night,″ Union’s wife, Janet, said. They had paged her at 10:15 p.m. and she called back and said, ```Everything is fine, Mom, everything is fine.′ That was the last time we heard from her.″

Sarah had been out with her friends at a party at the Adams County Fairgrounds. At about 12:10 a.m., the Unions got a call that Sarah had been involved in a head-on crash with a semitrailer.

Even though his daughter was the victim, Union went to the accident scene the next day and took pictures of the skid marks, the bashed front end of the car, the white wooden cross placed at the accident site and the clothes Sarah was wearing the night of her death.

On Aug. 27, the Commerce City Beacon was published with a front-page story that was ``dedicated to the loving but far too short memory of our daughter, Sarah Ann.″

``I know all the police in the Commerce City area, and they know me,″ Union said. ``They’d call me out, and I’d go to the scene. You just get kind of used to it. I get in there close and talk to the cops. Not much to it.″

The Unions started publishing the 10,000 circulation paper more than 10 years ago.

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