DENVER — A stolen SUV that was being tracked by Arvada Police is believed to be the same vehicle involved in a hit-and-run Tuesday evening that injured a little girl, according to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP).
She was struck walking home from school near the intersection of 53rd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard around 3:40 p.m., CSP said. Her school teachers at the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy (RFMA) identified her as 8-year-old Angie Gonzalez Torres.
She was taken to Denver Health with "moderate-to-serious" injuries, according to CSP. Her teachers told 9NEWS as of Wednesday she remains in the hospital with a head injury, but is awake and talking.
"She’s a sweet girl very innocent, she didn’t deserve this," RFMA teacher Dawn Wimmer said. "I don’t know how someone can leave and feel comfortable knowing that they did this to somebody."
The vehicle involved is believed to be a brown 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV with license plate AZQ 027, CSP said.
It has not been located and CSP said they do not have information about who was driving the vehicle.
"I immediately started crying. This family has been through a lot and it was just another set back for them," Wimmer said. The teacher created a GoFundMe to help the family pay for some of the medical bills.
"It’s a single mom, they’ve had a lot of set backs in their lives and they’re trying to get ahead but with COVID it kind of put them back too. They’re going to need a lot of help," she added.
Prior to the hit-and-run, the same vehicle had been spotted by Arvada Police who ran the plates and realized it had been reported stolen, a spokesperson for the Arvada Police Department (APD) said. Officers with APD first spotted it near West 67th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard, and that's where one officer began following the vehicle, the spokesperson said.
At no time did the officer turn on their lights or sirens, according to the spokesperson. The driver of the vehicle was obeying all traffic laws, according to APD, but eventually ran a stop sign at West 72nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard and continued south on Lowell. The officer did not follow the vehicle after that, the APD spokesperson said.
A short time later, it's believed the SUV struck the girl as it continued south on Lowell Boulevard.
CSP provided a photo of the actual vehicle believed to be involved in the incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call CSP dispatch at: 303-239-4501 and reference case #1D213846.
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or visit metrodenvercrimestoppers.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers works by assigning a code to people who anonymously submit a tip. Information is shared with law enforcement, and Crime Stoppers is notified at the conclusion of the investigation.
From there, an awards committee reviews the information provided and, if the information leads to an arrest, the tipster will be notified. Rewards can be collected using the code numbers received when the tip was originally submitted.
> More information about Metro Denver Crime Stoppers can be found here.
> Additional Crime Stoppers bulletins can be found here.
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