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Broomfield High student killed in 'tragic' crash identified

Dominic DePalma died and four other teens were injured in a crash with a semi in Lafayette on Thursday night, according to authorities.

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — A Broomfield High School student who died in a vehicle crash last week was identified Wednesday as Michael DePalma, who went by Dominic, by the Boulder County Coroner's Office.

The crash happened about 7:13 p.m. Thursday on Highway 287 at Dillon Road in Lafayette. A vehicle with five teenagers was going south on Highway 287 and crashed with a semi that was going east on Dillon Road, according to the Lafayette Police Department.

All five teens were taken to hospitals, where one of them, Dominic, a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced deceased. One of the teenagers was released, while three others were still hospitalized as of Wednesday. The semi driver was not injured, police said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. A police spokesperson said that distracted driving and alcohol were being looked at as possible factors.

Broomfield High School Principal Ginger Ramsey wrote a letter to families on Friday about the crash.

"It is with heartfelt sadness that I share news of a tragic car crash that happened involving five Broomfield High School students," she wrote. "... All of our thoughts are with the students involved and their families."

The Boulder Valley School District has a Grief and Loss website for those who need support, and counseling was made available at the high school, Ramsey said.

Credit: Family

>Below is an obituary for Dominic provided to 9NEWS by family.

Dominic DePalma (first name Michael), 17, of Arvada, Colorado, passed away unexpectedly early in the morning of July 29, 2022. He was the passenger in a traffic accident in Lafayette. His family and friends are devastated and heartbroken by this loss. Dominic is survived by his loving parents, Tami and Gino DePalma, and his beloved younger sister, Eleana. 

Dominic was about to start his senior year at Broomfield High School. Prior to enrolling at Broomfield High, Dominic attended Aspen Creek K-8, Jefferson Academy, and Happy Valley, where Dominic’s clever smile and bright green eyes earned him the role of Magician in the preschool play. While in elementary school, he enjoyed drama club, competed in the geography bee, loved science (but not the science fair), excelled in math, and was a natural at playing saxophone. Middle school broadened his interests with classes like cooking, Spanish and another class in drama. In high school, he built a house with his geometry class and he had a “creative” way of learning remotely during Covid. When he got the chance to attend classes at school, he was known for making other students laugh, though his teachers may not have always appreciated his humor.

An exceptional athlete who competed in many sports, Dominic was particularly passionate about soccer, which he began playing when he was two years old … and never stopped. Dominic was a Midfielder for Broomfield Soccer Club 05B. Together his tight-knit team earned the Colorado State Cup championship, where he was recognized as Most Valuable Player for the State Cup Final. Dominic was twice selected to play for the Olympic Development Program team and he competed in the Desert Premier League. Dominic recently made Varsity for the Broomfield High School boys soccer team, where he was to play Right Back. Dominic was a powerhouse who often surprised coaches on both benches with his exceptional ability to control the field and create plays. His physical strength earned him the nickname “Diesel”. He was often seen as the glue that held his team together.

Dominic worked his first job at Wendy’s restaurant in Broomfield and enjoyed spending time with many friends that he met through school, sports and other shared interests. He was a reliable friend … especially when it came to being there for them, even at 4 am, on Xbox.

Truth be told, Dominic came into his love of Xbox naturally. He and his dad, Gino, played many hours and many video games together. They decorated elaborately for Halloween (their famous family tradition) including the last year when Dominic did all of the ladder climbing. Both with impeccable palates, they enjoyed blending flavors and preparing feasts together.

Dominic forged an unbreakable bond with his mom, Tami, when Gino was hospitalized with a long-term illness. Even at two years old, Dominic brought hope and light to his mama’s terrified heart during that time. So deeply connected, they knew each other’s thoughts and both of them shared the ability to empathetically connect with people. They both had a passion for soccer, and Tami can still remember the moment when she realized his skills had superseded hers. 

Dominic wished for a baby sister for Christmas for two years and got that gift when Eleana was born on Christmas Eve, 2011. When they got home from the hospital, Dominic was so overcome with excitement, he threw up in the kitchen trash can. The family ate together almost every night of the week. The two recently begged to travel together and had not been told that they were to receive a Spring Break trip to Kauai for their Christmas present this year. His greatest cheerleader, Eleana, sat on the sideline for nearly every soccer game, always ready to perform her acrobatic halftime show. The two traveled well on road trips together, once they stopped bugging each other in the back seat of the car. Though seven years separated the two, their connection was immeasurable and instantly noticeable.

Dominic’s memory will be forever cherished by Tami, Gino, and Eleana, as well as his extended family. Dominic was a beloved grandson of Fred and Dottie Holden and the late Mike and Eleanor DePalma, nephew of Lori and Roger Dowd, Sheri and Tom Fisher, and Marianne DePalma, cousin of Jake, Ben, and Ross Eisenhauer, Tasmyn and Ronan Dowd, and Luciano DePalma.

Services for Dominic will be held at Spirit of Christ Catholic Church (7400 W 80th Ave, Arvada) on Wednesday, August 10 at 11:30 AM, with a viewing starting at 10:00 AM. Burial will be at Mount Olivet Cemetery (12801 W 44th Ave, Wheat Ridge) at 1:30. A reception celebrating Dominic’s life will follow at 3pm at the Westminster Recreation Center (10455 Sheridan Blvd, Westminster).

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Dominic DePalma Memorial Soccer Scholarship fund that will help carry on Dominic’s passion for soccer to other aspiring players. 

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