Jason Grimmer, sixteen, was killed by a hit-and-run driver this past New Year's Eve in a troubling incident that resulted in the arrest and subsequent release of a suspect and lawsuit threats over alleged police bungling. Meanwhile, though, the person responsible for his death remains at large and unpunished.
Now, Grimmer's grieving loved ones are trying a new tack: They've launched Justice for Jason, a Facebook page that celebrates his life as it seeks the person responsible for ending it. Details and photos below.
A KDVR report from January 3 offers the broad outlines of the circumstances that led to the tragedy. Grimmer, who lived in Denver, and a group of fellow white males got into a verbal confrontation with an African-American man on December 31 at 9:48 p.m. -- a conversation that Longmont police spokesman Commander Jeff Satur said had "some racial overtones," although we haven't seen any reports that Grimmer made any questionable remarks.
Then, moments later, Satur told the station that "a couple of cars full of black males showed up. They got into a physical altercation with four individuals at the scene."
During the melee, Grimmer is said to have stepped in front of an unknown vehicle on the 2200 block of Main Street. One of his pals described the result like this: "Jason took off running because they were getting fucked up by grown-ass men. He took off running, trying to get away ,and he got hit by a car. Whoever hit him, they don't even have the decency to stop for a kid."
A young woman was subsequently arrested and charged in the case, but she was later exonerated when authorities learned she'd been in church at the time of the crash.
Over the months that followed, more information surfaced. As reported by the Longmont Times-Call, police were called before any fists started flying. Moreover, intent-to-sue documents cited by the paper say cops found that Grimmer was intoxicated and had alcohol on his person -- but rather than taking him into custody and informing his family, they returned the booze and let him go. Shortly thereafter, the physical fight started, leading to Grimmer's death.
The facts of the case aren't debated on the Justice for Jason page, though. Instead, Rachel Waltz, Jason's aunt (although she refers to him as her brother), focuses on finding the driver in her mission statement:
My brother, Jason Grimmer, was killed on December 31, 2012. Finding the unknown answers and reasons for his death is something myself and my family have been trying to find out for our own closure and ability to heal through his death. Jason was loved by everyone that had the chance to know him. He was an amazing person, friend, and I must say he was an incredible brother to me. We will find justice for Jason. Thank you to everyone for your support♥
As noted by the Times-Call, Waltz has designed T-shirts that his friends and loved ones plan to wear on New Year's Eve to mark the year since his death, and to raise awareness about this still-unsolved case.
Continue to see more photos of Grimmer from the Justice for Jason page. Continue to see more photos of Grimmer from the Justice for Jason page.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa July: "Hit-and-run driver caught on video actually running from East Colfax triple injury."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.