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Injured passengers in fatal hit-and-run share anger over friend who ran off

Two people who were riding with Taylor Lindsey, who is accused of killing a man in a fatal crash, say they want justice.

DENVER — From her home on a couch, Austin Bartsch told 9NEWS she doesn’t know if her right arm will fully heal after doctors put a plate in her right shoulder. 

“A lot of that night is a blur. The most I remember is waking up when we hit impact,” Bartsch, 21, said of the night on July 29. 

Bartsch also suffered a lacerated spleen and liver when she spoke to 9NEWS at her home. 

Nearly a week ago, Bartsch and Alex Kasper were with Taylor Lindsey, a 23-year-old man who is accused of fleeing the scene of a fatal hit-and-run crash at 40th and Peña. A third passenger, who is unnamed in police reports, was also in Lindsey’s car and injured. 

Police documents say Lindsey crashed his stepfather’s Acura into a Volkswagen driven by Jake Johnson, 30, who was pronounced dead at the scene just after midnight on July 30. 

Credit: Johnson Family
Jake Johnson, 30, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash.

Before Lindsey took off from the crash scene, Bartsch said he whispered something in her ear while she was pinned between a car seat and the dashboard. 

“The last thing I remember Taylor saying is he bent down into my ear, and said ‘I love you but I’m sorry, but I gotta go,’” Bortsch said. “I mean he’s my best friend so, I don’t know why he would do that. It made me really angry that he just left us.” 

“Everything he told me and Austin was a lie,” Kasper said. 

Kasper had several stitches on his forehead and a broken nose as he shared his thoughts while sitting next to Austin. 

“He doesn’t care about us, he only cares about himself,” Kasper said, adding their friend Lindsey never checked up on them in the days after the crash. 

Lindsey called himself the president of the DragKings Colorado car club which was known for organizing large meet-ups at night for street car enthusiasts. 

At the time of the crash, Lindsey was on probation from a 2020 assault case in which he was accused of shooting at a man during a car meet. A judge gave Lindsey a suspended 8 year prison sentence as long as he stayed out of trouble. 

Lindsey’s future is likely going to involve years of prison time, which has left Bartsch without an answer on how much punishment her former friend should receive. 

“And I know he’s got a son. And no kid should grow up without their dad, but at the same time I’m like, he also killed somebody. Left us injured. He should get what he deserves.” 

For Austin’s mother, it was the worst night of her life she said. 

“I seriously want to hurt him, to be honest,” Taisha Bartsch said “I want to hurt him like he did he. He killed that man, because they all had a family.” 

Lindsey has denied an interview request with 9NEWS as he remains in jail under a $50,000 cash-only bond. 

If you have any information about this story or would like to send a news tip, you can contact jeremy@9news.com.

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