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Family seeks help finding hit-and-run driver who struck, killed 85-year-old patriarch

Investigators checking security video
Posted at 8:47 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 22:47:30-05

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. -- Family members of an Adams County man who was killed by a hit-and-run driver January 18 say they want answers.

They want to know why a driver struck 85-year-old Yoshi Kawamura and left him lying in the street. Kawamura left home at 4:30 a.m. on the 18th to go for a walk.

"It was part of his daily routine," said Yoshi's son, Ken. "He was in good health and was meticulous about staying in shape."

"He would come home and do calisthenics in the basement afterwards," said Ken's wife, Shelley.

When he didn't come home on the 18th, his wife grew concerned. She later learned that he was in the hospital, on life support, and that he had been hit two blocks from home.

"It's very sad," she said. "I can't believe it."

"He was literally left for dead, in the cold," Ken said. "The person didn't have the decency to stay and offer help."

Bombing Survivor

Family members said Kawamura grew up just outside of Tokyo and was 10 years old in the waning days of World War II.

Ken said that in June of 1945, his father survived an incendiary bombing raid that destroyed the family's home.

"He took his younger sister and brothers, and his mother and grandmother, and they went and hid in the rice field until after the bombing was over," he said. "He told us that afterwards, they had one of the best meals ever. When they got back to the bombed out house, they found a sack of potatoes that had gotten roasted during the fire, and that's what they ate."

Fascination with America

Ken said after the war, his father became fascinated with America.

"Dad saw all these movies about John Wayne and the wide open west," he said. "He wanted to come here and raise a family."

Ken told Denver7 that Kawamura traveled to the U.S. in 1967, found a job working as a veterinarian in South Dakota, and then moved to Colorado a year later.

He applied for U.S. citizenship in 1973.

Doing the Right Thing

"My Dad always did the right thing," he said. "He was one of those people that said, 'no matter what you do in life, you do the right thing and right things will happen to you.'"

Ken said for some reason, the driver who hit his dad, didn't do the right thing.

"Maybe they were on their way to work. Maybe they were coming home from work. Maybe they were tired. I don't know," he said. "Those are the questions I'd like answered."

Ken added that far too many people are making the wrong decisions when they're involved in an accident.

"There is just an epidemic right now with all these hit-and-runs all over the state," he said. "I don't know how many times I hear on the news there has been a hit-and-run."


According to the AAA Foundation, which conducted a study on fatal hit-and-runs in 2017, 20 people were killed by hit-and-run drivers in Colorado in 2014. That number jumped to 24 in 2015 and to 31 in 2016.

"People need to be accountable," Ken said. "Do the right thing. Be there, no matter what happened. Face the consequences and be there to help a life."

Ken said he doesn't know whether his father would have survived had the driver stuck around.

"In a situation like that, they say seconds matter," he said.

CSP Checking Security Cameras

The Colorado State Patrol said the January 18 incident is still under investigation.

Construction workers at a nearby business say investigators stopped by to pick up video from their security system.

The Kawamura family is hopeful that security video will shed some light on who is responsible.

"I don't think (my Dad) would have any ill will (toward the driver,)" he said. "That's not the kind of person he was. But I do think he'd want the person to at least come forward, at least let us know what happened. Give some closure to the family, my mother in particular."