DENVER (CBS4) – A man has died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.
The accident happened at Sheridan Boulevard and West Colfax Avenue around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday. James Garcia, 42, died just a few hours later. Police are still looking for the driver.
Police were able to use the new “Medina Alert” for the first time. The Medina Alert is a notification police use to notify the Colorado Department of Transportation, the media and taxi drivers to be on the lookout for a hit-and-run vehicle. It’s named after the Denver parking valet, Jose Medina, who was struck and killed last year in a hit-and-run near Lincoln and 10th in downtown.
Tuesday’s victim was on a bike when he was struck and taken to the hospital. It’s not clear if the man was in the crosswalk when it happened.
Witnesses say they heard a loud crash as the van collided with the bike. Police say the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed. They want to find the van but so far they have no description of the driver.
“Honestly he needs to be locked up for doing all this. They didn’t even stop. He didn’t even get out of the car and see if he was okay. He just kept going,” witness Jonathan Luevano said.
Police are looking for a GMC van. They say it’s a square 1990s model Safari. The grill is missing as well as the GMC logo that fell off during the accident.
Garcia worked as a house painter and was the father of two. His family said he was out of work and looking for a job at the time he was struck.
“We talked to numerous witnesses who saw what happened. A lot of them were incensed about how somebody could hit someone and leave the scene,” Sonny Jackson with Denver police said. “You always question that. ‘How could you hit somebody and leave?’ “
Garcia’s family talked to CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger and pleaded for the driver to come forward.
“(We) wish they would turn themselves in because it’s not right to hurt someone and to just get away with it,” Garcia’s sister Karlene Salazar said.
The intersection has a camera but it was not recording at the time of the accident.
Family members said Garcia had a drinking problem and criminal record filled with mostly minor offenses.
Anyone with information is asked to call Denver police at (720) 913-2000. Remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-STOP (7867). Text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter the message or send an e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com.