DENVER - It's been called an epidemic in the Denver area. Today Colorado lawmakers will take up the issue of hit-and-run crashes.
House lawmakers will consider a bill that creates a state-wide alert system to catch suspected hit-and-run drivers. The alert system will be called the Medina alert, named after Jose Medina a valet who was hit and killed in 2011 by a driver who left the scene of the accident in downtown Denver. A taxicab driver who saw the accident called police and gave them a tip that helped catch the driver.
House Bill 14-1191 would establish criteria for issuing a Medina Alert, which include verifying that the hit-and-run causes "serious bodily injury." The bill states that its purpose is "to facilitate the immediate apprehension of persons who kill or cause serious bodily injury to another person during a hit-and-run accident."
The Medina Alert has been used in Denver since 2012, with a dozen electronic billboards displaying the alerts. The new bill would take the program statewide. One of the people who helped establish the Medina Alert says it needs to expand.
"We've had 11,500-plus hit-and-runs since 2012 February," said retired police officer Larry Stevenson. "If we were to have 11,000 shootings, people would pay attention."