DENVER (CBS4) – The driver of a fatal hit-and-run has been arrested and is being investigated for vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident.
Latoya Nelson, 29, was arrested Wednesday night about 6 hours after the crash on a traffic stop near 31st and California.
Police say it started with a confrontation in the Burger King parking lot at Colfax and Kalamath. They say Nelson backed into another car there and nearly ran over a security guard who tried to stop her. She then sped out of the lot and allegedly ran a red light a few blocks away, killing Charlie Herrera, an 85-year-old great-grandfather.
“She took a husband, a father and a great-grandfather away from us, so it’s hard,” Charlie Herrera’s son John Herrera said.
While Nelson appeared in court with a neck brace and little emotion, Charlie Herrera’s family prepared for a funeral.
“He was basically the mainstay of the family. He went to our games, he was always there for us, he worked hard,” John Herrera said.
Charlie Herrera lived to see 62 years of marriage, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and even survived another hit-and-run crash 37 years ago.
“They never found that one; had both legs broken,” John Herrera said.
Police say Nelson t-boned his car after running a red light at 13th and Kalamath and ran instead of helping to save him.
“To leave my dad in the position he was at, it’s really hard to take,” John Herrera said.
Nelson’s family offered an apology on her behalf.
“It’s just terrible. My condolences go out to that whole family, and I’m very sorry about that,” Nelson’s mother Deborah Nelson said.
“I’m scared for her. My sister’s a good person, and it’s so sad that this has to happen,” Sahvannh Nelson said.
The two families are now both changed forever.
“He was always there for us, and we just loved him to death,” John Herrera said.
Nelson has a long criminal history in Colorado dating back to 2001. Offenses include drug charges and vehicle theft. Herrera’s family says they plan to pack the court room during her future appearances.