Woman arrested in deadly hit-and-run at 13th and Kalamath Wednesday, Denver police say

Suspect ran from crash on foot

DENVER - The mother of a 29-year-old woman suspected in a deadly hit-and-run crash at West 13th Avenue and Kalamath Street publicly apologized to the victim's family just minutes after her daughter appeared in court.

Latoya Nelson was in a neck brace as she stood before Judge Claudia Jordan Thursday morning.

Jordan set Nelson’s bond at $50,000 and told her she was being held for investigation of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

"My condolences go to the 85-year-old man that apparently was just out driving," said Deborah Nelson, the suspect's mother. "Tending to his own business and that incident happened to him and it's just terrible. I'm very sorry."

Denver police identified the driver killed in the hit-and-run as 85-year-old Charlie Herrera.

“He was just a sweet, sweet man,” said neighbor Sara Magnotta. “It’s a bit traumatizing to find out that somebody could actually hit a human being who is so sweet and just walk away.”

Family members told 7NEWS that Herrera had been struck by another hit-and-run driver 40 years ago, and that both of his legs had been broken.

The accident Wednesday happened just two-and-a-half blocks from Herrera’s home.

Denver Police Sgt. Mike Farr said Nelson was arrested around 11 p.m. Wednesday, during a routine traffic stop at 31st and California Streets. She was driving a vehicle registered to another person.

Farr said the officer recognized Nelson from a photo sent out from headquarters, and made the arrest.

The fatal accident happened during the afternoon rush hour Wednesday.

Police said Nelson was southbound on Kalamath and ran a red light at West 13th Avenue striking Herrera, who was westbound on 13th.

"He wasn't doing anything wrong," Farr said.

Witnesses told 7NEWS that the woman driver stumbled out of the car, and then ran from the scene on foot.

Nathan Martin witnessed the accident.

He told 7NEW that he tried to assist the woman.

She had gold teeth, and was wearing black pants and a white shirt," Martin said. "She took off running."

He said also tried to render assistance to Herrera but it didn't seem to work.

“I have training in first aid CPR,” Martin said. “I just have it on my mind that he passed away in my arms, and it’s just really hard.”

Herrera’s daughter said she’s grateful there was someone with her dad during the last moments of his life.

7NEWS learned the incident might have begun in the parking lot of a Burger King two blocks away, at Kalamath and Colfax Ave.

A security guard told 7NEWS they told a woman in the red car to leave and she sped off, hitting a car in the parking lot.

She then raced south on Kalamath toward 13th Avenue where the deadly crash occurred.

Nelson has a lengthy Colorado criminal history, including arrests for illegal weapon possession by a convicted felon, aggravated motor vehicle theft, assault, obstructing police, felony drug possession, prostitution and false reporting to police.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says she has used three different birth dates and seven aliases, including “Diamond Holiday” and “Tusha.”

Print this article Back to Top