CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – A Centennial couple, the victims of a hit-and-run, are preparing to meet the man responsible in court as he faces his punishment. Now they’re calling for stronger sentences for hit-and-runs.
Mark Peretsman and Jean Duane were driving home on Interstate 25 after picking up their elderly mother when they were hit from behind near the Yale exit. They found out later the man behind the wheel was going up to 100 miles per hour, and had fled the scene. Thursday morning nearly, 8 months later to the day, they will see him face to face at his sentencing hearing.
“I didn’t even have time to look in the rear view mirror,” Peretsman said.
They were supposed to leave on Christmas vacation. Instead, they found themselves instead in the hospital.
“The first thing the paramedic said when he opened the door is, ‘Oh, I thought you’d be dead,’ “ Duane said.
The rollover crash left them bruised and Jean with a broken sternum. They say it was the result of a driver that was speeding and possibly street racing – and left the scene.
“He left us to die, he had no idea what happened,” Jean Duane said.
“The person that did this ran on foot from the highway and got away,” Peretsman said.
Tyler Sherman was arrested a month later in connection with the hit-and-run.
“The whole reason we are here is to try and bring awareness,” Duane said.
Both plan on speaking at his sentencing, but now they also want to shine a light on the hit-and-run laws.
“What we were concerned about was that there was some punishment that meant something,” Peretsman said.
They say the laws are weak. The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are much less than getting a DUI.
“If the law were changed I think we would see less hit-and-runs, which is an epidemic in Colorado,” Jean Duane said.
As for their personal case, the victims don’t want Sherman to serve more than appropriate, citing his young age. But they do hope it’s strong enough to send a message.
“I have faith that they will do the right thing,” Duane said.
Sherman made a deal with the district attorney’s office to plead guilty to vehicular assault charges. In exchange his hit-and-run charge was dismissed. The district attorney’s office says the deal will likely put him in jail for a year with three year’s probation.