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Denver paramedic saved by coworkers after hit-and-run

Denver Police arrested a woman hours after the crash on suspicion of vehicular assault, felony DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

DENVER — Jacob Oldefest knows the streets of downtown Denver well -- both from the calls he works as a Denver Health paramedic and from his bike rides home.

Now there's a new landmark for him -- an intersection of his rides and his work -- at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Sherman Street. That's where a woman hit him on his ride home Wednesday, then took off. 

"I think I saw her windshield and I must've tried to jump over the car," Oldefest said. 

The crash broke a vertebra, cut his kidney and his liver and snapped his leg into three pieces. He thinks training from his time on the hospital's bike team may have prevented it from being worse.

"One of the things they teach us is when you know you're going to fall and it's going to be a bad one, just stand up on the pedals and throw the handlebars and ditch the bike, basically," he said. 

Within seconds of the crash, his paramedic coworkers pulled up. They happened to be working a call only a block away. 

"They heard the accident happen, so as soon as I went on the ground and figured out I was still alive, I saw their lights coming up the road toward me," Oldefest said. "It was just immediate relief." 

Paramedics Jordan and Jen -- Oldefest's coworkers by day -- were the first to help him that night. Within minutes, he said, he was receiving treatment in the hospital emergency department. 

"Living proof that having experienced and capable paramedics show up on your scene is lifesaving," he said. 

Credit: Jacob Oldefest

Oldefest has a long road to recovery ahead. He was discharged from Denver Health Sunday night, but won't be able to return to work there for at least two months. 

Denver Police said officers arrested Yessica Nevarez Villas, 27, on suspicion of vehicular assault, felony DUI and leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury. A spokesperson said the district attorney's office has not yet made a final decision on charges against Villas.


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