Hit-and-run crashes this year are so far outpacing crashes in 2022, an “alarming upward trend,” the Colorado State Patrol said in a Wednesday news release.
The CSP has seen a 22% increase in hit-and-run crashes in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same time frame in 2022. This year in January, the month that saw the sharpest increase, there were 260 hit-and-run crashes. January 2022 saw 192 crashes.
“If you hit a vehicle, a person, or another piece of property, don’t panic,” Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew C. Packard said. “Operating out of fear will only worsen this situation. Stay at the scene, check to make sure (whether) you and anyone are injured and call 9-1-1 to report the collision.”
Leaving the scene of a crash can lead to multiple criminal charges, including felonies, that pile onto any charges associated with the crash. For example, if an uninsured motorist stayed at a property crash scene, they could be charged with careless driving and no proof of insurance, but if that same person left the scene, they would also be charged with fleeing the scene of an accident, a crime that could possibly include jail time and a fine.
Leaving the scene of a crash is far worse than if the driver either doesn’t have a license, is impaired, or drove carelessly or recklessly, the CSP said.
In 2022, the Colorado State Patrol investigated and successfully solved all 20 “felonious” hit-and-run cases assigned, but so far in 2023, troopers have solved five of eight cases assigned this year.
The most recent unsolved case happened over the weekend. Two people died in a hit-and-run crash Friday on U.S. 287 north of Longmont, and witnesses told investigators road rage was a possible factor in the crash.
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