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Son mourns loss of construction flagger hit, killed in Denver

The son of a flagger struck and killed earlier this week remembers his father.

DENVER — A son is mourning the loss of his father who was hit and killed on the job while working in a construction zone on Tuesday in the River North Arts District.    

For Jose Ocampo Jr., it’s hard to begin the healing process.

“The healing process, I don’t even know where to begin. Because I don’t think it’s even started yet,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo's loss makes it hard for him to return to the intersection of 29th Street and Arkins Court where his father was killed.

RELATED: Construction flagger killed in hit-and-run crash identified, suspect arrested

“I get a phone call from my brother. He said there’s been a horrible accident with my dad you need to come down now,” Ocampo said.

The phone call was Tuesday afternoon, just as he grabbed his little ones from school in Colorado Springs. After the call, he came to the hospital in Denver.

“I went into the room; I saw my mom. I broke down. My brother said, 'You’re going to get mad – it was a hit-and-run; the driver left the vehicle abandoned and fled,'" Ocampo said.

One of Ocampo Sr.'s co-workers was also hit and left injured.

“From my understanding, there was cones; there was a sign saying there was construction. And this person, at 2 something in the afternoon – intoxicated – ran straight through hit them. Her excuse was she thought she hit a piece of construction equipment,” Ocampo said.

Denver Police arrested Kathleen Sugaski on Wednesday on charges of vehicular homicide after she left the scene of the crash. It was unclear if she was intoxicated at the time of the accident. But on Wednesday during her arrest, police say her speech was slurred, her balance was swaying, and her breath reeked of alcohol.

“It infuriates me, because when they caught her, we had court the next day. I saw her and she seemed to show no remorse. She was just there. I looked at her, and I said, 'You killed my father, and the hardest thing for me to do is explain to my little ones that they will never see their grandfather again, because you killed him,'" Ocampo said.

Sugaski is still in jail on a $25,000 bond, but that doesn’t sit right with Jose knowing his father’s life was taken.

“To me, it doesn’t seem fair. She killed a person. She hurt other people and they don’t see her as a threat to the community so I would like to see her behind bars if possible for the rest of her life,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo Sr. was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. He loved to go fishing, gardening, and teaching Spanish to his grandkids. They didn’t know their final goodbye would be on Labor Day.

“My dad was a very good person. He was loved in his community, in his church, in his job, and in his family. She just broke this family, and there’s nothing we can do – no money, no nothing is going to bring him back,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo Jr. told 9NEWS the other flagger who was injured has been released from the hospital but is dealing with some serious injuries. His father's construction company started a GoFundMe to support the family.

RELATED: Man dies after hit-and-run in Aurora, police say

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