LONGMONT, Colo. - Friends are mourning the loss of a 16-year-old boy who was killed in a New Year's Eve hit-and-run in Longmont when he ran into the street to escape a fight and was struck by a car.
The teen, identified by friends as Jason Grimmer, was fleeing a fight that involved as many as eight males when he was hit by the car on North Main Street, near 21st Avenue, at about 10 p.m., police said.
Friends said Grimmer, a former Longmont resident who had moved to Denver with his mother, had returned to the town to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends.
Several of Grimmer's friends stopped by a makeshift memorial Wednesday on the street where the teen died.
They said they were struggling to come to grips with the reality that Grimmer, an always smiling kid with a great sense of humor, is gone.
"He's so young, and has so many friends and loved ones," said Sabrina Stanger, a friend. "It just doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel right at all."
Another friend, Jessica Diaz, said: "It makes you think about your own life, you know, and think about how fragile it is."
Meanwhile, Longmont police are now looking for a new suspect vehicle in the hit-and-run.
Originally, Longmont police were looking for a tan van in connection with the case. Cmdr. Jeff Satur said they found that vehicle and discovered it was not the one that hit the teenager.
Police are now looking for a small, gray car that may be a sports car. Satur said there was conflicting information about the style of vehicle.
Police say Grimmer was hit while fleeing a fight that started as an argument between one black male and four white males. It escalated into a physical fight when the black male left and returned with some friends.
In the fight, four white males, including two Latinos, faced off against four to six black males, police said.
Grimmer was the youngest person involved in the brawl, with combatants ranging in age from 16 to 31, police said.
"There were racial overtones in that fight," Satur said. "We don't have any information that it was gang-related, but it may have been racially motivated."
At this time, Satur added, it does not appear the driver intentionally hit Grimmer teen or that he was hit by one of the men who were involved in the fight.