DENVER - A bill that would create a statewide alert system for hit-and-run suspects unanimously passed the Colorado House Judiciary Committee Thursday.
House Bill 14-1191 would expand the Medina Alert system, which has been used in Denver since 2012 to notify the public about hit-and-run suspects who cause serious bodily injury.
Since Medina Alerts were implemented, 16 cases have qualified for an alert and 11 have been solved. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Kathleen Conti (R-Littleton), said she feels confident the bill will continue to move forward as it goes to a full vote of the House and then to the Senate.
"When [a bill] comes bipartisan, fully supported out of committee, that makes a strong statement to the full House," Conti said.
The Medina Alert is named after Jose Medina, a 21-year-old who was working as a valet on East 9th Avenue and Lincoln Street when he was hit and killed by a truck in January 2011.
The driver, Norma Vera-Nolasco, fled the scene but was later arrested and convicted of vehicular homicide because of a tip called in by a Metro Taxi driver.
Medina's family attended Thursday's hearing and his mother spoke before the committee.
"It's an awesome blessing that it's going to go to the next level," Linda Limon Medina said. "[Jose] is going to go a long way to help people here and to find the people who are taking off and running."
"We came in here wanting to fight for this for him," Medina's sister Sophia said. "It's sad that we had to lose someone very, very special to us, but at the same time, I believe God took him for a reason and his calling was this. So he can help other families get justice."