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Teens Honored For Efforts To Catch Suspect In Deadly Hit & Run

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Steven Sanchez and Jason (credit: CBS)

Steven Sanchez and Jason (credit: CBS)

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Two teenagers are being honored for their efforts to catch the suspect in a deadly hit-and-run.

The accident was in June 2010 at the intersection of 70th Avenue and Broadway. A law firm is rewarding the teens with $10,000 this Wednesday. The teens told CBS4 they are happy to be called heroes.

“I’d consider myself a hero,” 19-year-old Steven Sanchez said.

Sanchez is thankful he and his friend Jason were at the right place at the right time. They chased the hit-and-run suspect that killed 59-year-old John Brand.

“Either you let it go or you do something about it, and what we did, we did something about it,” Sanchez said.

The two teens are receiving the $10,000 Law Tigers reward for their efforts. They were nominated by the victim’s girlfriend, Debbie Pyatok, who survived the crash.

“They didn’t turn their back to it. I know a lot of people saw the incident and they were the only two that went after the drivers,” Pyatok said.

Pyatok only has vague memories of the crash. She and her fiance were on their motorcycle when they were hit by 26-year-old Effrain Villegas.

At the crash site a memorial and a sign have been placed in memory of Brand. Pyatok hopes that it serves as a reminder to drivers about the dangers of driving drunk.

“I don’t pass it purposely very often. It’s just very saddening and just flashbacks of the night and John,” Pyatok said.

“I would hope that anytime someone sees a sign on the road, anybody’s name, not just John’s, to think about it and maybe say a prayer for whoever they were involved with and loved,” said Shawnah McDermott, Brand’s sister.

While they never intended to win any money, the two teens hope others will follow their heroic actions if they’re in a similar situation.

“It’s just the love in my heart. I’m a really kind-hearted person and I just want someone to do the same,” Sanchez said.

The teens plan to put the money to good use paying off debt, taking care of their families, and saving the rest.

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