Family members of boy killed in Federal Boulevard hit-and-run say suspect was racing a motorcycle

Victim identified as 'Mikey' Espinoza

DENVER - Family members of an 11-year old boy, who was killed in a high-speed hit-and-run crash on Federal Boulevard Sunday night, say the driver who hit him was racing against a motorcycle.

"It’s devastating," said the boy's father, Brian Martinez. "He was 11 years old. He didn’t deserve to die."

Martinez told 7NEWS that "Mikey" Espinoza and a 14-year-old cousin had just finished eating at a nearby Denny’s Restaurant.

“They were on their way home,” he said. "The Charger and a motorcycle were racing.”

Family members say Mikey was struck and dragged nearly 100 feet.

"I'm very angry," Martinez said. "The driver didn’t stop."

Police say the force of the impact knocked the front license plate and part of the bumper off the suspect's Dodge Charger. They were able to trace it back to a man named Oswaldo Lopez. 

Lopez was arrested in Aurora. The car was impounded as evidence in the case.

7NEWS obtained a copy of the police report Monday evening. It indicates that no "avoidance maneuver" was attempted by Lopez before the impact, and that the Dodge was moving at about 60 mph at the time.

The boy was hit while crossing from the west side of Federal Boulevard to the east.

Family members can't believe the driver fled from the scene.

"How could he do that, knowing that he hit someone and not knowing if he’s OK?" the victim’s sister, Alicionna Espinoza, asked in disbelief. "How could he not stop?"

Espinoza's sister, Shaionnie Lopez, told 7NEWS that she and her boyfriend drove past the accident shortly after it happened.

"We didn't see the racers," she said. "We didn’t know who was involved."

Lopez -- no relation to Oswaldo Lopez -- said they saw her little cousin screaming as they drove by. She said they went up a few blocks then drove back down Federal a few minutes later.

"That's when we saw my mom standing at the curbside crying," Lopez said. "She was screaming, 'My baby. My baby.' That’s when we knew it was Mikey."

Martinez said his son was an outgoing child who loved everything.

"He loved his bikes, his skateboards, his pets," the father said. "He loved finding lizards."

When asked about the hit-and-run, Martinez said, "I don't hate anybody, but that guy [Oswaldo Lopez] deserves what's coming to him."

Oswaldo Lopez is being held for investigation of vehicular homicide. His bond has been set at $50,000.

The boy's aunt, Gwen Espinoza, posted on Facebook, "I can't believe how everything can change in the matter of an hour. My baby nephew Mikey got killed by a hit and run plz we need all the prayers. God plz help my family I don't know how some one cld leave the scene of the accident. Karma is a bitch and…I hope you get life in prison. [sic]"

Family members say they plan to hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Tuesday just north of the Federal Boulevard bridge over Colfax.

"We're going to honor Mikey," they said.

Friends of the family are organizing a fundraising car wash at the Peerless Tyre Company at Sheridan and Jewell.  The car wash will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 pm Saturday.

A memorial account in Mikey's name has also been set up at Wells Fargo Bank.

Family members say it is to help defray funeral expenses.

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