Hit and Run: Slow response across the street from Denver District Six.
*From the local newswire
Around approximately 1:35 A.M. Wednesday morning there was a "hit-and-run" accident at Colfax Ave. and Washington Street involving a white Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a brown/beige sedan. The sedan hit the SUV, injuring one person, then sped away with a damaged front end. The sedan then turned on Logan or Pennsylvania Street according to witnesses at the scene.
A number of concerned witnesses gathered around the SUV following the accident, some asking for descriptions of the perpetrating vehicle, others sharing what information they had. More than one person near the scene called 9-11, and within roughly ten minutes a Fire truck arrived. At this point the driver of the sedan, as far as everyone on the scene knew, was still getting away. More than ten minutes after the emergency number was called, Denver Police Officers began arriving on the scene.
Some of the people who witnessed the incident were on Colfax, ironically, for the common purpose of participation in the market known to Colfax, primarily centered on illegal drugs (crack cocaine to be specific) and prositution. Each of these individuals was explicitly and without hesitation willing to give information and/or the best possible description they could of the sedan that caused the accident. What I thought was interesting was that in no way did their illegal activity or non-conformist lifestyle orientations inhibit them from what seemed to me to be an instinctive altruism, a compassionate regard for the man who was injured and lying on his back near his vehicle. If the "crackheads" and "hookers" weren't out on Colfax at this particular time, and had they not had such concern for the injured man, there would have been no witnesses, considering that the affluent and/or working class types who had cell phones with which they could call 9-11 were not close enough to see the perpetrator for themselves. Those participating in this market left before the police arrived, for obvious reasons one can only assume, but not without giving those of us with no reason to fear police the best description of the sedan as possible.
Who says they aren't model citizens? If it were I suffering an injury at the hands of a reckless and/or drunk driver, I know I'd sure be glad they were there at the time. This phenomenon flies in the face of common stereotypes about people whose lives are deeply immersed in the Colfax street culture, namely that they are supposedly self-indulgent and careless. To the contrary, they cared a great deal for the wellbeing of someone they didn't even know, and wouldn't leave until they were sure that help was on the way and a description of the sedan was ready for police upon arrival.
The most disturbing aspect of this incident is that the police took up to fifteen minutes to respond to this call (how far could a perpetrator get in a car in fifteen minutes at 1:30 A.M.?), while the District Six police station is located directly across the street from the scene of the accident. Officers could literally have just walked outside and across the street to the crime scene, from which the perpetrator was still fleeing, but instead they showed up slowly but surely, one by one, in cars. Fifteen minutes plus to get across the street. I assume there is some bureaucratic or system level reason for their late arrival (these were the cops on shift at the time, who responded as fast as possible, though they were somewhat far away), however, that does not excuse their allowing a perpetrator of a 'hit-and-run' who was probably also drunk (judging by the way the person was driving) as much as fifteen minutes to get away. It was as though they just negligently gave them a head start.
The notion that 'crackheads' showed more interest in seeing the perpetrator brought to justice after witnessing the crime than the police who responded to the crime is rather disturbing. Why was the Fire truck the first to arrive when the accident occured across the street from the police station? The person who caused the collision, and then sped away, had a good sized window of time to utilize thanks to the slow response of the police. The person may by chance have had a long drive, and given the description that we (I also gave the best description I could, based on what someone else told me) gave the police, it is possible that they located the vehicle by the damage on the front end, which hit the SUV hard enough to cause a sonic wave that grabbed the attention of many nearby onlookers, including yours truly. However, why let the person even have the chance? They may live far away, as I've just suggested to give the police the benefit of the doubt, or they may live on Seventeenth and Logan. They may very well have gotten way clean.
Enough people witnessed the accident that a full description was available for the police even before they arrived on the scene, as those who called 9-11 were prepared to give a description over the phone to the dispatcher. I couldn't gather whether they did give a full description on the phone or not, but the point remains that they could very well have, if the 9-11 emergency telephone respondents gave them such a chance. They had the description they needed to find the perpetrator almost immediately, as there were several witnesses.
The accident was caused by the brown/beige sedan, which then ran from the scene constituting a 'hit-and-run,' and the victim, a middle-aged/older African American man, was driving the SUV, which looked like a company vehicle of some sort with a logo on the side door. If anyone has any information about this incident, I guess you could give it to the police, though I can't guarantee much will come of it after what I've just seen. If the driver of the sedan happens to read indymedia, please consider that your actions have seriously injured a person who did not harm you in any way. The least you could do is take responsibility for your actions and turn yourself in immediately. You could have killed the man, and I don't know the extent to which he was injured, but regardless of the fact that he was conscious when I approached the scene, he may very well have internal injuries that could still cause death after the fact. Please do the right thing and take responsibility for what you've done. As for the police and their slow response time, I'm glad they were so thankful for our cooperation, however, the police are the ones with the duty of finding this individual, and they are the ones with the duty of responding to such calls, so...why the lax response to an automobile accident that occurred directly kitty corner to District Six? After hearing the loud sound of the accident the police could have simply looked out one of their windows and they would have seen the car speeding away.
To be clear, I don't suspect malicious intent on behalf of the police, however, I can't help but to suspect that laziness or negligence had something to do with their allowing the perpetrator a chance to get away by responding slowly. After looking into the eyes of an injured man, I must say that I hope the person who caused his pain is captured and brought to justice. If the person is not apprehended, and actually got away, then I can't help but to believe that police could have captured the person had they responded to the calls to 9-11 Emergency more quickly, and therefore must take some responsibility for there being no one to prosecute.