As another family is grieving the loss of their little boy after a tragic,senseless hit and run crash earlier this week, it seems timely that, theMedina Alert System, Colorado House Bill 1191 passed unanimously throughthe Colorado House Judiciary Committee and now moves on to the House and Senate.
With two more hit and run collisions with serious injuries this week, weare truly hitting epidemic numbers. In 2013, Denver Police investigatedover 3,800 hit and run crashes that resulted in 33 cases of serious injuriesand 5 deaths.
In 2012, HB 1084, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton made leavingthe scene of a hit and run collision resulting in serious bodily injurya Class 4 felony. Previously, the law provided a loophole for driverswho may have been intoxicated when they left the scene, only to turn themselvesin after they sobered up, knowing they would receive a lesser penalty.
The Medina Alert, originally created in 2012 by Larry Stevenson, a formerDenver police officer, is named after 21 year old Jose Medina who waskilled by a hit and run driver while working as a valet at a local nightclub at 9th and Lincoln in downtown Denver. Currently, only operating in the Denverarea, 911 operators and Crime Stoppers issue alerts to bus drivers, taxi drivers and truckers, along with pressreleases to local media and other means. The goal of HB 1191, sponsoredby Conti and Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, is to expand the systemstatewide by mandating the Department of Public Safety issue media alertsand bulletins on electronic highway signs similar to Amber Alerts, that would post suspect information that would alert the public to thosewho have killed or caused serious bodily injury in a hit and run collision.
“Hit-and-run accidents are one of the most unsolvable crimes,” Stevenson said. “You are looking for a ghost. Rarely do victims have good information of what hit them. We had to find a way to connect the dots around the metro area. We can’t always expect law enforcement to fly in with the red cape and solve the crimes. We have to do our part.”
At least for Medina’s family, a taxi driver witnessed the incidentand reported the license plate number to authorities and the driver waseventually arrested and convicted. Many hit and run crashes go unsolved,offering the families of hit and run victims no answers and no chanceof justice for their loved one.
If your family has been the victim of a hit and run driver or wrongful death,contact the compassionate attorneys at the Bendinelli Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation.