We previously knew the identity of the man said to have fatally struck the child and fled the scene: Oswaldo Lopez. But the loved ones of the victim, Mikey Espinoza, say that Lopez was street racing at the time of impact -- and he was busted for reckless driving just two short months ago.
Photos, video and details below.Mikey's bereaved family members told 7News the boy was lively, active and loved skateboarding -- in other words, a typical eleven year old. But then, around 8 p.m. on Sunday evening, he was crossing the street after eating at a Federal Boulevard Denny's restaurant with his fourteen-year-old cousin.... ...when he was struck by a vehicle said to have been traveling at approximately sixty miles per hour.
Why so fast? Although Denver police haven't offered an explanation yet, Mikey's relatives say the car was racing a motorcycle when it slammed into the boy -- and just kept going.
Tracking down the owner of the car was a snap. Not only was a portion of the bumper dislodged.......but the license plate also wound up on the pavement along with Espinoza, who the Denver coroner's office says died of "multiple blunt injuries."
Lopez was tracked to his residence in Aurora and taken into custody before night's end -- and 7News notes that he's been through this drill before. The station reveals that he was busted for reckless driving two months ago and had been ordered to take a safe driving class by the first week of March.
Now, he's got other things on his agenda. He's slated to make his first court appearance today to hear charges against him that include reckless driving, again, and vehicular homicide.
As for the Espinoza family, members plan to stage a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. tonight near the spot where Mikey lost his life.
Here's the latest 7News report, followed by our initial report.Continue for our previous coverage, including photos and video. Original post, 5:31 a.m. February 17: There have been a rash of fatal hit and runs in the metro area over recent weeks, but none more tragic than the one that occurred last night.
The victim was an eleven-year-old boy whose family was emotionally devastated as the intersection of Colfax and Federal was transformed into a crime scene.
Soon thereafter, Aurora's Oswaldo Lopez was busted in the tragedy, apparently because his license plate fell off during the crash. Photos, video and more below.
When news broke about the Colfax-and-Federal incident, the Denver Police Department was already working a separate hit and run, this one involving a motorcycle near 10th and Knox. The suspect in that case is thought to have been driving a dark, '90s-era Chevy Blazer with a Colorado license tag sporting the letters-and-numbers combination 148WXY.
In that instance, the victim's injuries weren't considered life-threatening. But the youngster struck in the evening's second hit and run, which took place at around 8 p.m., wasn't so fortunate, as made clear by the first DPD tweet about what happened:
BREAKING: #DPD responding a Fatal HIT&RUN accident at Colfax & Federal. One victim pronounced at scene. PIO is responding.— Denver Police Dept (@DenverPolice) February 17, 2014
That message was followed by this photo from the scene....
...and more images were captured by 9News, including this one:In the immediate aftermath of the report, investigators put out a call for a blue Dodge Charger with a license plate marked with the identifier 099-ZKG.
The DPD noted that the Charger was missing its front license plate, leading to the conclusion that it had come off after the vehicle hit the boy as he crossed the street.
The plate obviously made tracking down the driver a snap, and within hours, police had taken Lopez into custody at his home in Aurora.Early reports suggest that alcohol wasn't a factor in the matter. But if that proves to be the case, it will be of little consolation to the friends, family and loved ones of the child, especially given that Lopez allegedly smashed into him and then drove off, leaving him to die in the street.
If you have information about the Chevy Blazer in the 10th and Knox hit and run, or any more information about what took place at Federal and Colfax last night, you're encouraged to phone Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).
Look below to see a 9News broadcast before Lopez's name was released.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa February 6: "Marshall Smith, 85, was missing after dialysis treatment before fatal hit-and-run."