Hit-and-run suspect possesses lengthy arrest record involving alcohol

Espino served prison time for drunken shootup

LAKEWOOD - A man suspected of hitting a father and his daughter while they crossed the street has a history of alcohol abuse, 7NEWS has learned.

Lakewood police arrested Ernesto Espino after he allegedly drove away from striking two people with his car at 10th Avenue & Sheridan Boulevard on Monday afternoon. Espino was apprehended near Sixth Avenue and Ingalls Street thanks to the help of a good Samaritan, Lakewood police spokesman Ryan McKone said.

Espino is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on multiple charges, including three counts of possession of a controlled substance, two counts of vehicular assault, DUI, failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident.

Lakewood investigators said Espino hit a father and his daughter as they were crossing Sheridan in a crosswalk when he turned left from 10th to southbound Sheridan.

After fleeing fro the scene, a witness followed Espino as he drove down the Sixth Avenue service road before turning onto Ingalls Street. The good Samaritan parked perpendicular to a parked vehicle to block Espino in after Espino drove into a dead end.

Investigators said Espino then ran from the white Cadillac and tried to hid on the Lakewood Country Club grounds. Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis said Espino tossed a bag he had in the car with him that contained several illicit drugs.

Espino was finally arrested by police after they established a perimeter at the country club.


-- Lengthy criminal record --

Espino, 27, has several alcohol-related arrests over the past decade. He was sentenced to seven years in prison with the state Department of Corrections after a drunken escapade where he fired shots at patrons outside of a strip club.

According to an affidavit, Espino faced 19 charges in the June 2004 incident where he fired a .45 Glock at three men after getting into a verbal exchange with them outside the Saturday Night Live strip club at 7950 Federal Blvd.

After his arrest in 2004, Espino passed out in one of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s holding cells. When he woke up, he asked an officer, “I’m drunk, did I hit anyone? What are my charges?” according to the affidavit.

The driver in the shooting, Francisco Perez, told officials Espino had eight glasses of beer and four shots of vodka at the strip club before the shooting.

It stated in a court motion to shorten his prison sentence that Espino entered alcohol treatment classes, “to prove to the Court his sincere efforts at rehabilitation.”

Espino has been arrested four times for parole violations since 2010 and was arrested on Dec. 7 by Denver police for unlawful possession of dangerous drugs.

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