Fanya Weatherspoon, woman suspected in Red Box kiosk hit-and-run, faces hate crime charge

Weatherspoon has previous hit-and-run record

DENVER - A woman accused of intentionally hitting an Aurora man with her car, pinning him against a Red Box kiosk and breaking his leg, has been formally charged with a hate crime.

Police arrested Fanya Juwan Weatherspoon, 40, late last week. She is being held at the Denver Jail on $50,000 bond.

"I was happy that they caught her," said Alejandro Lopez. "She's going to have to pay for what she did."

Lopez told 7NEWS that he, his two children and a friend went to the 7-Eleven at 11th Avenue and Yosemite on Jan. 3 to get some snacks.

He said his son swung a bag of chips which hit his little sister in the face.

A witness says Lopez' son also accidentally stepped on Weatherspoon's foot and that she told Lopez if the child were hers, she would spank him.  Lopez said his friend told Weatherspoon to mind her own business.

The father said he paid for his snacks then went outside to rent a movie from the Red Box machine.

He said Weatherspoon and two other people got into her car, backed out of their space, then drove over the curb stop and hit him.

Court documents obtained by 7NEWS state that Weatherspoon missed on the first attempt, so she backed up, put her car in drive and stepped on the gas, hitting Lopez on the second attempt.

The impact broke his right leg. It later became infected. Doctors initially thought they might have to amputate it, but were able to save it with 15 surgeries -- most of them skin grafts.

"She ruined my life," Lopez said.

Police searched for the suspect for more than three months.

After releasing video of the hit-and-run incident to 7NEWS, they were able to identify Weatherspoon, but it still took a while to track her down.

Lopez says he ran into the suspect two weeks ago at a grocery store. He says he snapped some photos of her car, and noted that there was some damage to the right front end. A few days later, police impounded the car.

It's not the first time Weatherspoon has been involved in a hit-and-run. Court records show she was involved in a previous hit-and-run Dec. 1, 2009. There were no injuries. Weatherspoon pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

The arrest affidavit in the more recent case states that Weatherspoon, who sources say claims to be a born again Christian, told two witnesses they better keep their mouths shut.

She has been formally charged with first-degree assault, two counts of menacing and a bias motivated crime.

When asked if he or his friend said anything racially motivated to Weatherspoon, Lopez said no, but that Weatherspoon did.

"When she found out that someone spit on her window she said, 'dirty Mexicans,'" Lopez said.

Lopez' attorney, F. Less Maes told 7NEWS that "even without a racial component, (Weatherspoon's) behavior is totally inexcusable. To use a vehicle and to hit them, it doesn't matter what the situation is, you're taking it to a whole new level of danger and certainly threatening the life of a person."  

Weatherspoon has a Colorado criminal history dating to 1991, including arrests for child abuse, assault, domestic violence, harassment, damaging property and failing to report an auto accident.

Maes said the Red Box hit-and-run case is an example of why police should release video more often. 

"That video helped identify the suspect," he said. "I think the city should adopt a policy whereby if they have photos and video, they should involve the media."

Maes said that he's glad to see the wheels of justice slowly begin to turn.

"In some cases," he said, "justice will flow, but sometimes the victims don't get fully compensated and this may be one of those cases."

He said he still doesn't know if Weatherspoon was driving without insurance. 

Maes said that his client's medical bills are skyrocketing, so a fund has been set up to help defray some of the costs.

It is the Alejandro Lopez Vargas fund at Wells Fargo Bank.

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