DENVER (CBS4) – A driver suspected of running over and killing a mother walking across West Colfax Avenue and Zenobia Street and then driving away from the scene is now behind bars. Police said on Thursday they’ve identified the suspect as 39-year-old Juan Sanchez.
Officers found a 2007 GMC Sierra pickup they believe was used in the hit-and-run a few blocks away on Colfax Avenue. They traced it to Sanchez and talked with him by phone before making the arrest on Wednesday.
People who knew the victim say she had a loving family and lived among a tight knit community at Denver’s Renaissance West End Flats. An affidavit states an ambulance passing the scene was flagged down and tried the help the victim, but there was nothing they could do. She died at the scene.
“We’re all very close here and we’re just devastated. Her husband is just in shock and one of her daughters and son are here and … it’s just …. I don’t even know what to say,” said Buffy Bruns, a neighbor of the victim.
Bruns arrived home shortly after the crash. While she didn’t witness what happened, she spoke with other neighbors who confirmed what police told her.
“They just kept going. Just hit a person and moved her body like, halfway down the block and it killed her,” she said.
The victim was carrying bags from Walgreens at the time, just kitty-corner from her apartment. Bruns says she was walking home from the store with her husband when she was hit.
“How inhumane and disgusting something like that is. To kill a grandmother, a person that’s part of a beautiful family right before Christmas and drive off? I just…. I don’t even know what to say about that. It’s absolutely unconscionable to me,” Bruns said choking back tears.