Student dies in car wreck

May 012006
Authors: Brandon Lowrey

A CSU student died and two others suffered injuries early Sunday morning after the man who was driving them, allegedly while drunk, rolled over his sport utility vehicle and slammed into two parked cars.

Joshua Rojo, 18, was the second freshman to die in a crash in as many weeks. He lived in Westfall Hall, just two floors below the room that once housed freshman Abigail Hoffman, who died in a crash on Interstate 25 eight days earlier.

Just before 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, 20-year-old Fort Collins resident Daniel Desaegher was driving westbound on Stuart Street with three passengers, according to a Fort Collins Police Service statement. Rojo was sitting in the back seat.

On the 2300 block of West Stuart Street, Dasaegher lost control of his SUV and smashed into a parked car. The Jeep tipped over and rolled until it crashed into another car parked in a driveway.

The impact of the crash threw Rojo from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and police arrested and booked Desaegher for vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Desaegher was not listed in CSU’s online directory.

CSU students April Tacoronte and Nicholas Elder were also injured in the crash and taken to Poudre Valley Hospital, where they were treated and released.

Several of Rojo’s fellow residents at Westfall Hall called his death a wake-up call – a reminder of the fragility of life.


At about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Will McNamee woke to knocking on his door.

It was the first time he met Rojo’s parents.

McNamee’s was one of the names Rojo had mentioned to them, and they wanted to be the ones to tell him that their son was dead.

“They were cleaning his room out,” he said. “It was pretty shocking.”

On Monday afternoon the door to his room, 404, was among the only that were unadorned, and one of the few that were closed. He lived alone there at the end of the hallway.

Friends described the sociology major as quiet and easygoing – until he got to know you or saw a chance to boast about his Brooklyn, N.Y., roots.

“You could tell he was proud to be from New York,” said senior Andy Nicewicz, a friend who lived down the hall from Rojo. “He grew up different from us, and you could tell. It was neat.”

Rojo joked that he grew up in the ghetto and was “gangsta,” Nicewicz said. But his friends said he was always friendly and loyal.

“He was one of my friends, for sure,” McNamee said. “When I got sick, he was always the first one to offer to help me out.”

Most other residents of the floor heard the news at a meeting held Sunday evening. No one really knew how to react when Rojo’s death was announced.

“Nobody said anything for like 20 minutes,” said Dani Porter. “We all just sat there.”

Although nobody on the floor has heard of when an official memorial service would be held, she said the floor might get together to do something in Rojo’s memory.

Porter was sitting in her residence hall room while she talked about her acquaintance – how nice he was to hang out with. “Tell Me All Your Thoughts on God” by Dishwalla was playing on her computer, and the song filled the silence when she paused. Tears crept into her eyes.

“The last time we hung out, we were in his room,” she said. “I tucked him in and made him up a bedtime story.”

She didn’t remember how it went.

“I just made up some stupid stuff that made him laugh.”

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