The bill creating a statewide Medina Alert for hit-and-run drivers has passed the legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The bill, which passed the state Senate Tuesday by a 30-1 vote, is aimed at trying to stem what is being described as an epidemic of hit-and-run injuries and fatalities that have plagued the state in recent years.
The legislation instructs the state Department of Public Safety to set up a statewide alert system though television and radio, billboards and text messages whenever police need help locating a car and driver involved in a hit-and-run accident that led to a fatality or serious bodily injury.
The Medina Alert will be comparable to the Amber Alert for missing children.
The program was created by former Denver police officer Larry Stevenson in 2011 and named for Jose Medina, who was killed in 2011 by an hit-and-run driver on his first day of work as a parking valet. A taxicab driver who saw the accident called police and gave them a tip that helped catch the driver.
Both Denver and Aurora have already implemented the Medina Alert.
An ongoing joint I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS/9News investigation found the Denver/Aurora/Lakewood area averaged an injury a day from hit-and-run drivers.
Denver police received an average of 17 hit-and-run reports per day between 2011 and 2013, including non-injury fender benders.