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The Colorado State Patrol has a message for Colorado drivers: “Cool it, people” and if you’re involved in an accident — stay on-scene.

As the state heads into a holiday weekend with traffic expected to break records, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) is seeing an alarming upward trend of hit-and-run crashes across the state of Colorado and asks motorists to drive safely.

The CSP has tracked a 22 percent increase in hit-and-run crashes in the first quarter of 2023 over the same time period of 2022. That includes three recent fatal hit-and-run cases that remain unsolved.

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“If you hit a vehicle, a person, or another piece of property, don’t panic,” said Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew C. Packard. “Operating out of fear will only worsen this situation. Stay at the scene, check to make sure you and anyone is injured, and call 9-1-1 to report the collision.”

Leaving the scene of the accident can lead to numerous criminal charges, some of which are felonies, in addition to any charges associated with the actual crash.

Here’s just one example: If an uninsured motorist stayed at a property crash scene, he could be charged with careless driving and no proof of insurance which would total 8 points against his/her license. But if the same person left the scene and was later found, they would also be charged with fleeing the scene of the accident which would raise the total number of points to 44 and also include possible jail time of 10 to 90 days and/or a fine.

Whether the driver doesn’t have a license, is impaired, or drove carelessly/recklessly and for whatever reason leaves the scene of a crash, although serious in nature, it pales in comparison to the charges faced by a driver that leaves the scene of the accident.

So don’t.

“Hit-and-run crashes that result in a fatality or serious bodily injury to another person are devastating to families and erode the feelings of safety for all of us across our communities,” said Packard. “Colorado State Troopers take these crimes seriously and work tirelessly to ensure each case is solved.”

In all of 2022, the Colorado State Patrol investigated and successfully solved every ‘felonious’ hit-and-run cases (20 in total) assigned. So far in 2023, troopers have received eight new cases with five solved. The most recent unsolved case occurred this past weekend on May, 19, 2023 and resulted in two men being killed.

Public Request for Assistance in the Following Open Fatal Hit and Run Crashes

May 19, 2023 – Reference Case# 1D232018

Around 5:00 p.m., a 4-vehicle fatal hit and run occurred on Highway 287 just south of Larimer County. The run vehicle is believed to be a Dark red/maroon 2009 or newer Dodge Ram 1500 with chrome front and rear bumpers and chrome wheels with damage to the right side of the vehicle. Driver is believed to be a heavy-set, white male, 50-60 years old with a white beard.  Anyone with information about the crash or the Dodge driver is asked to call the Denver Colorado State Patrol Dispatch Center at 303-239-4501.

January 1, 2023 – Reference Case# 2B230002

Crash near Fontaine Blvd. and Metropolitan St. in El Paso county, where a 19-year-old bicyclist was found dead. Investigators believe the crash happened between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. on January 1. It’s believed the vehicle involved was a 2015-2017 black Ford Expedition. The bicyclist was wearing bright pink clothing. Anyone with information about the crash or who may have seen the bicyclist is asked to call the Pueblo Colorado State Patrol Dispatch Center at 719-544-2424.

February 1, 2023 – Reference Case# 2B230337

A crash near Constitution Ave. and Waynoka Pl. in El Paso county that involved a 2017-2022 gray Ford F-250 and a black Yamaha motorcycle in front of the nearby Sonic fast food restaurant. The driver of the motorcycle was an 18-year-old male from Peyton, Colorado, and was pronounced deceased on the scene. The driver of the Ford fled the scene. Anyone with information about the crash or the Ford driver is asked to call the Pueblo Colorado State Patrol Dispatch Center at 719-544-2424.