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Co-Worker Remembers Tracy Handel

July 30, 2012, 6:03 PM by Brady Mallory

Co-Worker Remembers Tracy Handel

Thirty-six-year-old Tracy Handel was killed this past weekend in a motorcycle/jeep crash on 26th Street and Grange Avenue in Sioux Falls. 

She was riding with her friend, 41-year-old Sean Burns.  According to police, 41-year-old Darren Boomgarden was drunk when he caused the crash.

Their motorcycle was slowing down for a traffic signal at the intersection of 26th Street and Grange Avenue in Sioux Falls when it was hit from behind by Boomgarden's jeep.

The crash site is now a memorial as flowers, stuffed animals, cards and candles show how much friends and family miss Handel.  But a small bouquet from Lenny Sweet, who stopped by on his bike, sends a big message about what can be in a stranger's heart. 

"[I] never had a chance to meet her," Sweet said.  "Everybody's important. They were just riding their motorcycle.  They didn't know somebody was going to slam into them."

Handel's co-worker was not at a loss for words about how her death will affect those who knew her.

"When you lose somebody as precious as Tracy, you're definitely going to have a hole there," co-worker Mike Riter said.

From the animals to the customers, Riter says Handel loved everything about her ten years at All City Pet Care.

"Everybody that worked with her loved her as well," Riter said.

Boomgarden faces several charges, including two counts of manslaughter, vehicular homicide, hit and run and his second DWI.  According to court papers, he was also on a controlled substance at the time of the accident. 

Riter said Boomgarden made bad choices, and should be ready to face his punishment.  Still, Riter showed compassion.

"It's not just, this guy, we want to burn him at the stake.  He's human like the rest of us.  I'm sure not everybody feels that way," Riter said.

As these gifts at the crash site continue to pile up on the sidewalk, they cannot ever cover up everything.

"It's going to be a huge hole.  It's going to be tough if not impossible to fill," Riter said.

Boomgarden faces life in prison.  The driver of the motorcycle, 41-year-old Sean Burns of Hartford, is still hospitalized in serious condition.

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