ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque family is grieving after their mother was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver. The family said this tragedy has turned their world upside down. It all started at an intersection on the westside shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday. “I just can’t believe my mom is gone,” Naomi Katesigwa said.
The Katesigwa family said they are grieving the loss of their missing piece, Janell. “She was so proud of us,” her daughter, Naomi said. “In a split second she’s gone, and I can’t get her back.”
One of her daughters was following shortly behind Janell on their way to work at the McDonald’s at San Mateo and Academy early Sunday morning, when she saw the car her mom was in involved in a crash. “She looked and called my mom to see if she was at work, and when she didn’t answer she checked her location,” Naomi said. “And when the location showed it was the same spot as the car accident, she called me.”
The family said Janell was going through the intersection of Tower and Unser, not far from her home, when they said a suspected drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into Janelle. The 41-year-old died on impact. “In the moment, my body was frozen,” Janell’s husband, Silver, said. “I couldn’t believe that my wife was gone.”
The Albuquerque Police Department said that the driver was intoxicated and transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital. The police report said the driver told officers she had a few shots, then became unresponsive. There was also an unconscious passenger in that car who was hospitalized too. APD said there are charges pending.
Janell’s mother is in disbelief. “I want them to see that it hurts for them to take my daughter’s life,” Rosalie Grooms said. “It’s too hard.”
As people gathered at the home Wednesday evening, the family said Janell deserves justice. “This woman was everything to everybody, and they don’t need to do that to anybody else,” Naomi said.
“We are going to be in pain for the rest of our lives,” Silver said. “This has changed our lives.”
Janelle’s husband said they met at the New Mexico State Fair after he moved here from Uganda and had been married for more than 25 years. They raised four children together here in Albuquerque. They also worked together at McDonald’s. Janell was the manager, and Silver is the supervisor.
There will be a candlelight vigil for Janelle on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the intersection. The family has set up a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses.