Fatal Denver-area crashes put Colorado on track breaking record

Drivers struck and killed four pedestrians in metro Denver over the weekend, putting Colorado on track to beat last year’s record-breaking number of pedestrian fatalities.

Early Saturday morning, between 3 and 4 a.m., 34-year-old Andrea Reza was struck by the driver of an SUV while crossing Colfax Avenue in front of the pedestrian bridge.

Reza was pronounced dead at the scene, Aurora police said.

The suspect fled the scene in what is believed to be a silver Ford Explorer and has not yet been found, Aurora police spokesperson Sydney Edwards said.

No arrests had been made as of Monday morning. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

Later that night, a second pedestrian was hit by a driver, this time in Denver.

Around 8 p.m. Saturday, police officers responded to Sheridan Boulevard and Morrison Road, where a pedestrian had been struck by a driver while crossing mid-block, Denver police spokesperson Dave Abeyta said.

The unidentified individual was transported to the hospital, where they later died from their injuries, the Denver Police Department stated in a Sunday update on X.

Seven hours later, early Sunday morning, the second hit-and-run occurred.

At 3:20 a.m. Sunday, the driver of a white Jeep Grand Cherokee struck and killed a 40 to 50-year-old Hispanic man in Littleton.

According to a Sunday news release from the Littleton Police Department, the driver was traveling east on Bowles Avenue when they hit the pedestrian near the intersection of Santa Fe Drive.

The driver fled the scene, heading west, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation issued a Medina alert.

There is damage to the front of the vehicle on the driver’s side, the alert stated. As of Monday morning, the car and its driver had not been found.

Then, around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, another Denver pedestrian was hit and killed by a driver in the area of Colorado Boulevard and 40th Avenue.

The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, and the intersection was temporarily closed for police investigation.

The crash remains under investigation from the Denver Police Department and further details have not been released at this time.

To Sam Cole, the safety program manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation, these crashes are sad but not surprising.

“Last year was a record-breaking year for pedestrian deaths in Colorado,” Cole said. “It doesn’t look like 2023 will be much better.”

In 2022, Colorado recorded the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the state’s history, according to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation. That year, 115 pedestrians were killed on Colorado roads, making up 15% of the state’s total traffic fatalities.

As of last Thursday, 81 pedestrians had been killed by Colorado drivers in 2023, Cole said.

That number is up 12% from last year and nearly double the 2013 to 2022 average — and that’s before this weekend’s deaths.

“Pedestrian deaths have been a huge concern lately, from both an engineering and a behavioral standpoint,” Cole said.

Denver, El Paso, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties have seen the most pedestrian fatalities in 2023 across the state, and most of the collisions happen at night, according to a news release from the Department of Transportation.

Tomorrow, Cole and his team will be placing displays at various intersections across Denver and Aurora — neon green men holding signage about safe driving and the need to be aware of pedestrians.

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