Relatives of the man who died in a fiery crash into a Longmont warehouse on Wednesday remember him as a man with a big heart who loved his family.
"He had enough heart for three men," said Lorenzo Mata Jr., one of the cousins of Carlos Bustillos who gathered Thursday at the scene of the accident.
Police early Thursday publicly identified Bustillos, 34, as the driver of a pickup that accelerated through an intersection and struck the building, which caught fire. Bustillos's teenage children escaped the wreckage after failing to pull him from the pickup. The body of his dog was found in the cab of the truck with him.
A positive identification of the driver's body is pending.
Bustillos was driving his 1998 Dodge Ram pickup truck south on Bowen Street about 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Longmont resident had stopped at Boston Avenue when, according to witnesses, he apparently had a seizure. The truck accelerated across Boston and crashed into the steel warehouse, which caught fire.
"What it looked like to me was that he was having a seizure or something," said witness Doug Dolloff, who was behind Bustillos's truck at the Boston Avenue stop sign and said the vehicle first idled into the middle of Boston and then sped up into the building. "I could see his arms and head twitching pretty fast. It looked like someone was either messing around or having a seizure."
After 911 was called, Dolloff stayed at the scene with another man, waiting for help to come.
"It drove into where the electrical box was in the building, so there were sparks and fire nearby," he said. "There wasn't anything we could do but watch and wait for the police and fire to show up."
"The only thing I was thinking about was those poor kids," said Dolloff, who works nearby at Intermountain Railway Company. "They have to deal with this for the rest of their life. I can't imagine what they're going through."
Longmont firefighters battled the flames and smoke for more than two hours Wednesday. Because the damage made the warehouse unstable and dangerous, police and investigators from the Boulder County Coroner's Office waited until Thursday to remove the pickup truck from the building.
Stephanie Mata, the wife of Lorenzo Mata Jr., said Bustillos had a history of seizures and recently had suffered quite a few of them. It's not clear if he had received any treatment for them.
Bustillos was a concrete finisher for Lawson Construction, Lorenzo Mata Jr. said. His brother, Pablo Bustillos, pleaded guilty in July to vehicular homicide and other charges related to a March 6 fatal crash at 17th Avenue and Main Street. He was sentenced in August to 40 years in prison.
Bustillos cared deeply for his family and his children, the cousins at the scene of the crash said.
Stephanie Mata said she had seen Bustillos and the children about an hour before the crash. His son had just had a haircut, and Bustillos was teasing him, "having a good time," she said.
"He loved his mom and dad, and he loved his family," Stephanie Mata said. "He loved his kids. They were his life."
The large family gathered frequently for birthdays and holidays, Martinez said.
"All of us. We were always together. Where you found one, you found us all," he said.
And Bustillos always tried to make others happy.
"You could be in the saddest of mood, but he could make you laugh and smile, just like that," Martinez said, snapping his fingers.
"He loved all the kids, and kids loved him," Martinez said, referring the extended family of cousins. "He'll be missed."
The remains of Bustillos's pit bull, Sugar, were found at the man's feet in the pickup.
Bustillos's cousins described Sugar as a loving, kind animal.
Lorenzo Mata Jr. said, "That dog stood there and died with him."
Bustillos rescued Sugar from a pound, said Nick Martinez of Longmont, another cousin.
"She was with him every day. If you've seen his truck, you've seen his dog on his lap," Martinez said.
Stephanie Mata, the wife of Lorenzo Mata Jr., said another family member told her Sugar would not leave Bustillos' side on Wednesday, and even wanted to go in the bathroom with him.
Since Sugar wouldn't leave him alone, Bustillos took her along when he picked up his children from school, she said.
"She had to be close to him all day long," Stephanie Mata said.
Contact Times-Call staff writer Victoria Camron at 303-684-5226 or firstname.lastname@example.org