LONGMONT, Colo. -- A New Year's Eve fight between two groups of males turned fatal on New Year's Eve in Longmont, with a teenager becoming the victim of a fatal hit-and-run.
The teenager, who friends identify as Jason Grimmer, lived in Denver with his mother and younger brother and sister.
Police say he stepped into the path of an unknown vehicle in the 2200 block of Main St.
Tears fall for a friend—who on a night of celebration—died in the street, trying to run from trouble.
“Jason took off running because they were getting f---ed up by grown-a-- men. You know what I’m saying? He took off running trying to get away and he got hit by a car. Whoever hit him, they don’t even have the decency to stop for a kid,” says close friend Jared Stone.
The crash knocked Grimmer out of his shoes. His Chicago Bulls ball cap lies nearby.
“There are some racial overtones. There are some name calling going back and forth,” says Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur.
He says it started with a fight—first with words at 9:48 p.m.--then, with fists at 10:05 p.m. outside a Noodles restaurant near a bus stop.
“A couple of cars full of black males showed up. They got into a physical altercation with four individuals at the scene,” says Satur.
By trying to run from the fight, his friends say, he runs into the path of a van and ultimately, his death. The driver never stops.
“Nothing is going to be the same anymore. He was always part of the group,” says an emotional Haley Landruth, who knew Grimmer for about a year.
His friends leave him flowers on the frozen ground. They also leave words of regret.
One card reads: “RIP Jason. You will be missed. I love you.”
“He was always happy, had a joyful spirit. If you’re feeling down, he lifts you up. It’s a shocker to know he’s gone. He’s not coming back,” says friend Codi Johnson.
“He used to live here, then he moved to Indiana and he wasn’t happy there. So we paid someone to pick him up and drive him back here,” says a young man, who says Grimmer was like family to him.
The 16-year-old was back home, where he was happy.
But that all ended on the cusp of a Happy New Year—as joy, suddenly and unexpectedly, turns to sorrow.
“Now I think, don’t take your life for granted. Anything can happen. He didn’t know that was going to happen last night. And that happened,” says Johnson.
Police found a van New Years Day with front- and rear-end damage. But they can’t prove it was involved yet.
Police are asking for anyone who may have seen the fight or accident to call them.
Friend of Grimmer are holding a candlelight vigil near the accident scene at 9 p.m.