A pedestrian crossing the street was hit by an older- model white GMC van at about 7:20 p.m. Monday in the 1500 block of Sheridan Boulevard. The driver of the van continued away from the scene, the pedestrian died less than two hours later.
The accident was the first in which the new Medina alert was issued. The new alert targets drivers who flee critical and fatal traffic accidents before they have a chance to leave the immediate area.
The Medina alert triggered notification of local media and the use of Denver Public Works Department electronic signs throughout the city. And, as part of the new Medina-alert system, a description of the van was forwarded to taxicab dispatchers in Denver, who then passed the information on to hundreds of cabbies.
The alert is named for a 21-year-old downtown parking valet, Jose Medina, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in January 2011. A sharp cabbie, Max DeBarros, saw the truck that hit Medina and wrote down the license-plate number, quickly passing it on to investigators. That helped lead to an arrest.
The Medina alert is broadcast for a 24-hour period unless a suspect is taken into custody. After the 24-hour period, the investigation continues through typical channels.
The van that hit Garcia sustained front-end damage in the accident. Parts of the front grill, including the GMC logo, also will be missing. Ironically, the pedestrian was making a prohibited crossing and so the van would probably not have received a moving violation for the accident. But now of course, the driver is facing serious charges of hit and run from a fatal accident.