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University of Denver student killed in hit-and-run crash

Patricia M. Jarzobski

We so often take for granted the urban planning that provides our streets, traffic lights, signals and signs that it can come as a shock when we realize just how tenuous our safety on the road really is. Recently, a tragic incident reminded Denver residents of the ever-present dangers on our roadways. A 24-year-old graduate student at the University of Denver was involved in a fatal accident when he was violently struck by an SUV as he attempted to cross a road near the campus.

The young man, who was studying for a graduate degree in engineering, was walking his bike across an intersection in a marked crosswalk when an SUV slammed into him, throwing his body several feet into the air. His bicycle was stuck to the vehicle as a result of the force of the impact, and was later recovered several blocks away. The police report indicates that the SUV ran a red light just before hitting the student, and that the young man appears to have had the right of way at the time of impact.

The victim was taken immediately to Denver Health, where doctors tried to save his life. He died shortly after midnight. Friends of the student were with him at the hospital, and one young man went to inform his mother, who was in town from the family's home in Iran to visit with her son. Friends told a reporter that having to tell his mother what had happened and support her at the hospital was one of the hardest things he has ever experienced.

Police are searching for a Jeep Grand Cherokee, possibly a 2000 to 2005 model with dark red or maroon paint. They believe that the vehicle may have damage to the front end or the side as a result of the fatal accident. A $4,000 reward has been designated for anyone who has information that leads to the arrest and subsequent charges of the driver. Beyond the criminal charges which likely await the hit and run driver, he or she may face a wrongful death civil claim from the victim's surviving family for the damages caused by the horrific collision.

Source: 7News, "DU Student Cyclist Struck, Killed By Hit-And-Run SUV," Lance Hernandez and Kim Nguyen, June 1, 2012

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