Hit-and-Run Drivers Face Short Statute of Limitations

Laurie Gorham Sherlock was walking in a Stapleton neighborhood on Dec. 9, 2010 when she was run down by a hit-and-run driver. Her unborn child died at the hospital.

Now, more than three years later, time has likely run out on bringing the assailant to justice, 9News has reported.  The statue of limitations for leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury is three years. The limitation rises to five years if the hit-and-run driver kills someone.

Gorham Sherlock suffered life-threatening injuries.

Denver Police Lt. Robert Rock said that is very frustrating to officers that the period during which the hit-and-run driver might be criminally charged has expired. "Very much so," he said in an interview with 9News. "We might be able to do something, but unfortunately very little. The statute of limitations has run out on that case."

The report is part of a year-long I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS/9News investigation into the rising scourge of hit-and-run drivers in Colorado.

Mikey Espinoza

Family Photo

As I-News reported in its first story, every day at least one person in the core of the metro Denver area is injured by a hit-and-run driver. There were three hit-and-runs just this past weekend, including one near Federal and Colfax that claimed the life of an 11-year-old boy, Michael "Mikey" Espinoza.

Unfortunately, such an occurrence isn't rare. Almost three times a month, someone, likely a pedestrian, is killed in Colorado by a motorist who then flees the scene.

And a staggering 17 times day in Denver, someone reports a hit-and-run accident of any kind to police.

Legislators have passed a law to toughen criminal penalties and several cities have adopted alert systems to ask the public’s help in tracking down perpetrators. But the carnage has continued.

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