One person killed in fiery hit-and-run crash in west Denver

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DENVER -- Police said one of three people who were in the hospital after a fiery hit-and-run crash that saw flames spread down a city block has died.

Behind crime scene tape Monday morning sat six wrecked cars including a Jeep, which was charred to the frame, black and empty.

“I kind of went into shock,” said Tom Williams, a witness who lives near where the crash happened at West 44th Avenue and Federal Boulevard.

The scene left witnesses stunned, some too shaken to speak.

“Somebody might have lost their life over that,” said Abe Cordova, who also witnessed the crash.

Police said the driver of the Jeep was pulled from the flames and taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Mountain View police said moments before the crash, an officer spotted a white Dodge Durango going 100 mph eastbound on 44th Avenue.  The officer followed.

Minutes later, witnesses said they heard the impact.

“I just hear this huge blast like something went off, like a firecracker or something or a bomb,” Williams said.

Witnesses said as the driver of the Durango crossed Federal Boulevard, the SUV went airborne, crashing into five other cars.

“I look out my window and there’s flames all the way down the street in the middle of it,” Williams said.

He and others ran outside to the screams of someone yelling for help.

“A lady just kept screaming he’s alive I think he’s alive,” he said.

“It was dark.  A lot of smoke.  Couldn’t see anything.  Nobody really wanted to get around it right away,” Cordova said.

Grabbing fire extinguishers to put out the flames, Williams realized a man was inside the Jeep on fire.

“I thought he was dead,” he said. “He was all white-white and laying back.  Like the back of the Jeep had hit him because it ripped off the back of the Jeep, you could see that.”

The driver and passenger of the Jeep were taken to the hospital with burns on their bodies. The driver was later pronounced dead.

Witnesses said questions need to be answered.

“At that hour, if it was a high-speed chase, it’s ridiculous.  They should never allow that kind of chase at that hour.  There’s too much traffic out here,” Cordova said.

Mountain View police said an officer never gave chase but did follow the suspect, losing him before the crash. Denver police said the suspect fled the scene on foot but was caught a few blocks away.

He was taken to the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. His name will not be released until he is booked into jail.

The conditions of the other two people hospitalized were not released.