Denver police issue arrest warrant for suspected driver in deadly hit-and-run

Tip leads police to parked suspect vehicle

DENVER - Denver police have issued an arrest warrant for a 30-year-old man suspected in a hit-and-run that killed a 61-year-old woman walking across the road Thursday night.

Police released a photo of Jim Artis Tillmon, who is wanted for failure to report an accident involving death, a felony.

Police said they believe Tillmon was driving a sport utility vehicle that hit and killed the woman on South Park Road near South Quebec Street at about 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

Police said they received a tip about midnight that led investigators to find a blue 2002 Buick Rendezvous parked at an apartment complex near the crash scene.

Police said they located the registered owner of the Buick, who is cooperating fully with the investigation and was not the driver.

Tillmon has a nine-page Colorado criminal history, including arrests for drug possession and trafficking, assault, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, forgery, identity theft, driving without a license, parole violation and obstructing police. 

Meanwhile, the Denver medical examiner has identified the hit-and-run victim as Zewde Ali, 61. The woman failed to respond to emergency treatment and was pronounced death at the scene, Denver Chief Deputy Coroner Michelle Weiss-Samaras said.

The woman's cause and manner of death are pending an autopsy.

Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said the SUV driver was weaving in and out of heavy traffic in the 1000 block of South Parker Drive when the SUV veered into a turn lane at a high rate of speed, hitting the woman.

The driver didn't stop, but police began to immediately search for an SUV with damage to a headlight. Police said the vehicle left a large amount of debris at the scene.

The speed limit in the area of the crash is 35 mph. Police spokesman Detective John White said investigators are unclear if the driver was swerving to get through traffic or turning left, but said both are common at that time of the evening.

The victim was not in a crosswalk when she was hit, police said. She was crossing Parker Road, walking away from a bus stop.

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