There is a growing public health crisis in Colorado and it involves hit-and-run drivers.
At least one person in metro Denver area is injured every day by a hit-and-run driver. Almost three times a month, someone, likely a pedestrian, is killed in the state by by a motorist who then flees the scene.
And a staggering 17 times a day in the city of Denver someone reports a hit-and-run incident of some type to police.
An ongoing investigative series by I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS in partnership with 9News shows that while laws have been toughened to deal with hit-and-run drivers, the carnage has only escalated.
In 2012, the last full year for which data are available, 34 people were killed across Colorado by hit-and-run drivers, almost double the 18 deaths the year before. The result was the state ranked 10thth in the U.S. in terms of hit-and-run fatalities per capita.
Between 2011 and 2013, about 1,300 people in the metro area’s three largest cities – Denver, Aurora and Lakewood – were injured by hit-and-run drivers, ranging from bruises to paralysis.
“We know he stopped for a second, and then pretty clearly made a decision to flee,” said Priscilla Ingebrigtsen, of the hit-and-run driver who killed her son, Army Spc. Jesse Pringle, 26, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. In an interview with 9News, Ingebrigsten said, “We understand the hit. It’s the run we don’t understand. That’s the problem.”
The collaborative investigative effort by I-News and 9News on the hit-and-run epidemic will continue throughout the year.