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Golden bar manager recovering after deadly hit-and-run in parking lot

Michael "Jojo" Gause said he tried to break up a fight before someone drove a truck into the crowd outside Rock Rest Lodge.

GOLDEN, Colo. — A bar manager in Golden has a fractured spine, broken ribs and more than 40 staples in his head after a fight outside his work turned into a deadly hit-and-run. 

The hit-and-run outside Rock Rest Lodge happened Oct. 9. Michael "Jojo" Gause is now home after spending 10 days in the hospital

"This is the first time I have just sat up and been in a sitting position that wasn't my bed," he said. "That is a step in the right direction."

He was knocked out after someone drove a car into a crowd outside his bar. Gause said he was trying to break up a fight in the parking lot. 

RELATED: 1 dead, 6 injured in bar parking lot hit-and-run

"One of the guys slipped out of the whole ordeal and got into his truck," he said.

He said he tried to pull a man away from the truck's path, but that man was hit too, and later died. 

Gause wishes the man could have made it home like him. 

"I heard later he's got a whole family with kids and stuff," he said. "That has just got to be awful on them."

Four people, including Gause, were taken to the hospital for various injuries. 

Investigators said two men in the pickup truck admitted to officers they were drunk. 

Ruben Marquez, 29, who's suspected of driving the Chevrolet Silverado, and Ernesto Avila, 25, who police said owned the pickup and was a passenger, appeared in Jefferson County District Court earlier this month.

Marquez is accused of ramming into the crowd. He's being charged with 17 counts, including first-degree murder, vehicular homicide and assault. 

Avila, Marquez' cousin, was originally charged with five counts. He is now facing just a single count of being an accessory to a crime.

RELATED: Affidavit details what led to fatal Golden hit-and-run in bar parking lot

"Obviously it sucks and I am in a lot of pain and stuff like that, but I have never been the kind of person that holds grudges," Gause said. 

Gause feels grateful to still be alive as he takes each day one step at a time. 

He thinks it could be up to a year before he fully recovers. He said he doesn't have health insurance, so these months will be difficult financially as well.


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