Mother Of Victim Travels To Denver For Sentencing

DENVER (CBS4) – The family of a valet who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver says they are frustrated by the limits of the sentence for the woman who was behind the wheel.

Norma Vera-Nolasco pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in the death of Jose Medina and will be sentenced on Monday afternoon. She faces as much as 12 years in prison as part of the plea deal and will likely be deported.

Police caught Vera-Nolasco while she was on a plane in Phoenix and trying to leave the country after the January incident. Medina, 21, was on his third day on the job when he was struck and killed outside the Rockstar Lounge on Lincoln between 8th and 9th.

Vera-Nolasco was allegedly drunk at the time and was in the country illegally. She also had a history of hit-and-run incidents.

Three other people have already pleaded guilty to helping cover up the crime and helping Vera-Nolasco escape.

Linda Limon, Medina’s mom, traveled to Denver for the sentencing. She told CBS4 she’ll be calling on political leaders to change the laws to allow for harsher punishments in such cases.

“That wasn’t justice done for Jose,” she said. “They need to change the laws. I’m not just speaking for my baby, I’m speaking for all the innocent people that get killed.”

Limon says she’s still deeply upset by the facts of the case.

“(Vera-Nolasco) escaped; she tried to leave. She didn’t even stop to help my baby.

They could have at least stopped and maybe he’d be here today with me.”

hannon Burtness and Medina were planning to get married a few weeks before the crime. She told CBS4 she thinks confronting the woman who killed her fiancee will be the toughest moment of her life.

“(Vera-Nolasco) doesn’t understand what she took from me. And his family, friends. She took a lot from his neices and nephews who love him so much.”

Burtness says Medina’s was working an extra job that night and that he had visions of a bigger life.

“We were going to get married. He was working. And it just has crushed everything,” she said.

Burtness says she met Medina when she was 13. She now carries his ashes in an urn she wears on her body every day.

“It’s him. It’s what I have of him now,” she said.

A makeshift memorial is in place at the spot where Medina died. His family members say they will visit it to pay final respects after the sentencing hearing.


CBS4’s Alan Gionet recently set out to seek the answer to the question “Why Do They Run?” in reference to the numerous hit-and-run cases in the Denver area. Watch his complete report below where he explores why the penalties in Colorado aren’t greater for such drivers who cause bodily harm.

Comments (8)
  1. dooinok says:

    Don’t deport until sentence is complete in US. She is a repeat offender….about to leave and let the victims family suffer!!!!

  2. Alfred wednt says:

    At least she gets to stay in the U.S.

  3. RBW says:

    if she had a history of hit-and-run incidents, WHY was she still driving? The car confiscation law that Denverites voted on SHOULD have prevented a repeat offense, that is IF police enforced the law.

    1. jeff says:

      Why was she driving in the first place? She couldn’t have had a drivers license or insurance.

      Why was she in the US in the first place? She had no legal right to be here.

    2. David Burns says:

      why are we giving illegal aliens drivers licenses

  4. Geno says:

    Because illegals do what they want out of a complete lackmof morals.

  5. John says:

    I hesitate to respond out of sorrow and respect for the victim.
    I don’t like using cases like this as I told you so.
    The pure truth is Illegals are always doing something silmilar.
    Yes I realize legal citizens also cause accidents but this was not necessary.
    She should have never been here and thus obviously not driving.
    The list of tragic accidents just continue to grow and all the illegal supporters
    keep claiming they have rights and are doing nothing wrong.
    My sympathy to the victims family and my disdainfor illegal immigration support,
    You want to come in the country? do it legally.
    That way you may actually have a VALID drivers license and maybe even insurance, you know like the rest of us are required ti have.
    So now we have another tragic death, a grief stricken family and an illegal we have to bear the further costs of keeping in prison.
    If course we could actually deport her.
    If we do that she will be back like ants at a picnic and kill somebody else next month.
    Wake up folks demand they CLOSE the borders.

  6. lolle sena says:

    I think she got off good. She should hav been sent back the first time she got caught she should have been deported but she probably would have been back the same month . I know of 1 person that got 24 yrs and I feel he is not the only one that has had the maximme sentence. The judicial system is not the same for everyone. She got 12yrs max, probably be out in 7yrs and be back in the U.S within months.

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