Westminster hit-and-run: Suspect was wearing ankle monitor


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Investigators are still looking for the black four-door Dodge Ram with Colorado license plate EEI A89, which belonged to a friend of the suspect.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — An argument over a vehicle blocking the roadway led to a man backing up a pickup truck and accelerating into two brothers who were in the street, killing one of them, according to an arrest affidavit from the Westminster Police Department.

The driver left the scene. August Romero was arrested late Sunday night in connection with the deadly crash.

Robby Valanzuela was run over and dragged about 200 feet around 10:15 p.m. on Saturday near the intersection of Zuni and Alcott streets in Westminster. According to the affidavit, he was with his brother who was also hit but not seriously hurt.

When police arrived they spoke with Valanzuela’s younger brother. He told police the two of them were visiting a friend when they decided to go to a liquor store. On their way back to the friend’s home they were headed south on Zuni when he said they had to stop because a “low rider” and a black pickup were blocking the street.

He said they argued with the two men associated with those vehicles when they asked them to move, the affidavit says. After exchanging words, he said one of the men got into the “low rider” and drove away. The other man, later identified as Romero, got into the truck, backed up and then drove forward and came into contact with both brothers who were standing in the street, the affidavit says. He then accelerated, according to the document, knocking down both brothers. Valanzuela was caught under the vehicle and run over.

The crash was captured on cellphone video by someone in a nearby home. She reported that she heard yelling in the street and began recording, the affidavit says.

RELATED: Suspect arrested after ‘intentional’ hit-and-run in Westminster

Using that video, investigators began searching license plate reader camera databases to see if either vehicle had passed by a camera and had its plate recorded. After a couple of hours of searching, an investigator found the black truck was recorded driving near Thornton Parkway and Pecos before the crash.

Investigators determined its plate was EEI A89 and put that information out to the public along with a description of the vehicle. So far, the vehicle has not been located.

Investigators went to the home of the registered owner and found the “low rider” vehicle in the driveway, the affidavit says. When they spoke with the owner, he said Romero had been driving his black truck but had not returned it.

He told investigators that his “low rider” had broken down on Zuni Street and he got a ride back to his home from Romero to pick up his truck so they could fix the other vehicle to bring it home. He said while doing the work they used his truck to block a portion of the road so they wouldn’t get run over, the affidavit says.

As they were finishing repairs, he said two men came up in a vehicle and began arguing with them. He said after a few minutes he got in his vehicle and drove away. He thought Romero had followed him, but later realized he was not behind him.

The man said he did not know where Romero went with the truck and had not seen or heard from him. He said he tried calling him several times but he didn’t answer, the affidavit says.

According to the affidavit, investigators learned Romero was on parole after he was recently released from prison. As part of his parole, he was required to wear a GPS ankle monitor. Using the device, Romero was tracked to a La Quinta hotel in Westminster and arrested late Sunday.

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Westminster hit-and-run: Suspect was wearing ankle monitor

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