Photos: Nathan Beechley, busted in hit-and-run that killed Jonathan Lewis, is ex-DPS staffer

Denver has suffered a rash of horrific hit-and-runs during the last three weeks or so, including the still-unsolved 14th and Yosemite crash that killed two children and a 13th and Kalamath incident in which Latoya Nelson has been charged with causing the death of Charlie Herrera, 85. The latest? A fatal smash-up near 9th and Colorado that took Jonathan Lewis's life. Ex-Denver Public Schools staffer Nathan Beechley has been accused of the crime, which contrasts sharply with the portrait presented on his Facebook page.

Unlike Erin Jackson, cuffed for a February hitt-and-run near East High, Beechley isn't a teacher. Instead, as 7News reports, he worked as a DPS security guard from May 2007 to May 2012.

Beechley's Facebook page isn't especially active, but it does feature several absolutely gorgeous photos of him with his young son. Here's one (cropped) example, complete with a Shakespeare quote....

Also spotlighted is another bucolic pic.... an image that testifies to Beechley's faith: Nonetheless, 7News notes, Beechley has had a couple of police encounters in his day, with past charges of driving under the influence and driving without a valid license on his record. Cut to 2 a.m. or so yesterday morning, when Lewis, 35, left a bar and walked across Colorado in the vicinity of 9th, presumably on his way home. But even though he only lived about two blocks away, he never made it to his door. He was struck by a car that kept going after impact. The Denver coroner's office reveals that emergency personnel pronounced Lewis dead at the scene.

The driver of the vehicle left some clues behind, including metallic-blue paint chips and a piece of bumper, which the DPD publicized via a video on view below. Here's a screen capture from it:

These items were helpful, but at a press conference yesterday, DPD reps stressed that tips offered up by the public were of even more assistance, leading investigators to an Aurora apartment complex -- and a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu with telltale front-end damage.

A short time later, Beechley was arrested on suspicion of causing Lewis's death. He's due to make his first court appearance this morning.

Look below to see a larger version of Beechley's booking photo, followed by two clips -- the aforementioned DPD footage from the scene and the 7News report.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Video: See SUV that killed kids Za May Khan, Az Zet Khan in 14th and Yosemite hit-and-run."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts