Although it’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident, it happens too often. Unfortunately, justice isn’t always served for the victims and their families. Some drivers get away with it. But Colorado has found a new way to deal with hit and run accidents, through the Medina alert system. Learn more about how it works and how it can help catch offenders.
How the Medina Alert Came Into Existence
In 2011, a hit-and-run driver killed 21-year-old Jose Medina. An SUV struck the young man while working as a parking valet near Denver’s state capitol. A cab driver followed the vehicle, got the license plate number and contacted police. This led to an arrest.
The tragedy also led to the Medina alert. Colorado is the first state in the nation to adopt this alert system. It’s been in use for the past two years in Denver and in Aurora since last year. Recently, the governor of Colorado signed it into a statewide law.
Like the Amber alert (used for missing children), it notifies the public of a hit and run. It goes out when there’s enough information on the vehicle or the license plate number. It’s only used in the event of a serious injury or death. Information on the vehicle gets posted to electronic highway signs.
Notifications also go out to key sources of help such as:
- truck drivers;
- patrol cars;
- cab drivers; and
- the media.
A message is also displayed on the Crime Stoppers Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The statewide adoption this law stems from success of the program. In Denver, out of the 17 Medina alerts sent out, police were able to solve 13 of those cases.
Actions to Take if Injured in a Hit and Run
It can come as a surprise for a driver to flee the scene of an accident. As a result, the victim could miss important details. This is why it’s important to know what to do immediately after any accident.
If possible, get a good look at the other vehicle right away, just in case the driver doesn’t stay. Take notice of the make, model and color of the vehicle. But the best identifying information is the license plate number. If the driver leaves, write down any description you have of the vehicle. Don’t try to rely on memory.
Other details that can help locate the driver are location of damage on his/her vehicle and type. For instance, the passenger side of the front bumper may have a significant dent and red paint scraped from your vehicle, so be sure to tell the police.
Make note of where the accident took place. Get contact information from anyone who saw it. And of course, contact the authorities. With the statewide passing of this alert, anyone who suffers serious injuries has a fair chance at catching the driver.
You might also consider contacting a lawyer. You can learn about protecting your rights and legal options through insurance claims or lawsuits, especially in the event police locate and arrest the driver. Contact the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation with an attorney.