UCCS faculty member identified in fatal car accident

Sept. 23, 2013

Nick Beadleston, Jesse Byrnes and Sara Horton
[email protected]

Senior instructor Margaret “Marge” Mistry died in a car accident the night of Sept. 13. Mistry was hit by another motorist when she was returning to her car after checking on a deer she had hit on the road.

The crash happened at about 7:40 p.m. on Highway 115 in El Paso County, approximately 11 miles north of Penrose, according to Colorado State Patrol.

Mistry, 75, and a resident of Penrose, was walking across the road at dusk back to her car when she was hit by a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was traveling southbound on Highway 115.

Mistry had reportedly hit a deer, got out and crossed the road to check on it, talked to another motorist, then was hit by a third motorist when returning to her car, according to Colorado State Trooper Michael Tafoya, the investigating officer. Mistry died at the scene.

The person driving the Jeep, Toni L. Gallardo, 67, also of Penrose, was wearing a seatbelt and was uninjured, according to State Patrol. According to Tafoya, alcohol, drugs and speeding are not suspected, though the crash remains under investigation.

“We are in contact with Marge’s husband, Hoshi. Our condolences are extended to him, Marge’s other family members, and her many friends, colleagues and former students,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said in an email to faculty members the morning of Sept. 14.

Mistry, a senior instructor in the languages and cultures department, taught Spanish at UCCS since 1991 after retiring from teaching at Mitchell High School, according to a UCCS press release.

She took classes at UCCS and CU before earning her Ph.D. in education from CU-Denver in 2012.

Mistry was teaching three Spanish courses this fall, including beginning, intermediate and advanced. She has also been the faculty advisor and guiding force for UCCS Radio since 2003.

“Personally, she was my mentor. To see her pass away, it’s very sad,” said Brandon Ortega, UCCS Radio station manager.

UCCS Radio held a meeting Sept. 16 to discuss moving forward.

School officials worked early in the week after the car accident to communicate the news to students who knew her personally.

The radio’s Sept. 18 Hispanic Heritage Month Concert was dedicated in Mistry’s memory.

“Marge really had a passion for education and passion for the radio station, and she helped a lot of students find themselves, help find their voice and she was a really great person to have around,” said Ortega.

“She worked really hard for the radio station for a number of years, and the radio station really started to take off here recently, and I’m glad at least she was able to see that.”

The news came as a shock to students, fellow faculty and staff members who saw Mistry on campus as late as the afternoon of Sept. 13.

“This is more than just the loss of a faculty member. UCCS is losing a passionate and spirited woman who was the driving force behind UCCS Radio,” said Laura Eurich, a senior communication instructor and faculty advisor for The Scribe.

“Working with her on the Media Advisory board, I truly admired her enthusiasm for radio and the students,” Eurich said.

Weather and road conditions have yet to be determined. The accident report had not been released by print deadline.