Denver police make arrest in deadly hit and run at Colorado and 9th

Nathan Beechley arrested

DENVER - Tips helped lead police to the arrest of a suspect in a fatal hit and run from early Tuesday morning.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Denver Police said the suspect was Nathan Beechley, 30. Crime Stoppers tips were credited with helping lead officers to the arrest.

"In this particular case, the information we received, once we started to develop that information, took us right to certain location and to certain person," Sgt. Mike Farr said.

Investigators said they found a piece of a blue car in the middle of the street. They had been looking for a dark, blue car with front end damage. Police said the suspect vehicle, a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu, was found in an apartment complex 15 miles away in Aurora, near Hampden Avenue and Tower Road.

"Even though I'm confident we have the vehicle, we're not done gathering that proof to show that this was it," Farr said. "Like a jigsaw puzzle, I will put those parts together and see if they are a match or not and that will be part of our ongoing investigation."

Earlier during the afternoon, the coroner's office identified the victim as Jonathan Daniel Lewis, 35. He had multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner said.

Police said Lewis was crossing Colorado Boulevard near 9th Avenue at 2 a.m. when he was hit and killed.

There were no witnesses, but police said other drivers stopped and tried to help the victim, who was found in the middle of the street.

Police said they believe Lewis was walking home from a bar just south of the intersection. It appears he lived about 2 blocks from where he was killed.

7NEWS checked the Beechley's criminal history. We found that he has previously been arrested for driving under the influence and driving without a valid license.

We also confirmed he worked as a security guard for Denver Public Schools from May 2007 until May 2012.

Denver police say there have now been three deadly hit-and-run accidents in 2013. In 2012 there were 13.

Farr spoke frankly about what the recent string of hit and runs.

"It's just like that old fairy tale, catch me if you can I'm the gingerbread man. It seems as though that's what we're fighting, folks are just running because they can," Farr said.

The following numbers represent the total number of fatal hit and run accidents which occurred in the city and county of Denver each year.  Each of these accidents resulted in one or more persons being killed.

These numbers are only counting the actual collisions reported on a single accident report and not the total number of people that died in the collisions themselves. For instance, in the 14th and Yosemite crash that occurred last month, two kids were killed.

-2002: 6

-2003: 7

-2004: 12

-2005: 14

-2006: 5

-2007: 5

-2008: 6

-2009: 7

-2010: 5

-2011: 7

-2012: 13

 

Denver police released a video showing the evidence left at the scene. Look at the video below or click on this link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaBkmJvuhu4&feature=youtu.be