AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A man from Dillon has been arrested in connection to a deadly hit-and-run crash Thursday morning.

The Aurora Police Department said Daniel Saenz-Moreno, 27, was arrested but did not specify what charges he is facing.

Daniel Saenz-Moreno, 27, accused in deadly hit-and-run crash in Aurora
Daniel Saenz-Moreno, 27, accused in deadly hit-and-run crash in Aurora (Photo credit: Aurora Police Department)

According to the department, a man was struck by a driver in an SUV while he was walking across East 19th Avenue near Peoria Street around 6 a.m. Thursday. The area is west of the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

APD said the pedestrian, an older man, was sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. At around 10 a.m., APD confirmed the man had died from his injuries.

The suspected large SUV involved was located but the driver was not identified until Thursday afternoon.

All lanes of Peoria between Montview and 17th were closed while officers investigated, but were reopened around 10 a.m.

Residents in the area concerned with dangerous incidents

This is the second time a person has been killed in this stretch of Peoria in just five months.

Terrell Fears, who lives nearby, said a lot of people cross that street and it makes him cringe.

“People get caught in the middle of the street can be very dangerous, it’s very dangerous,” Fears said.

There are no crosswalks or traffic lights where the pedestrian was hit. FOX31 saw many people basically playing a game of chicken crossing the street.

The Colorado State Veteran’s Home sits across the street from a 7-Eleven.

“I’m moving from here. This street is unsafe. People zoom by. They don’t stop. And people are careless around here,” said neighborhood resident Gracilee Kouanda.

Kouanda walks her dogs often dodging dangerous traffic, she says.

Another pedestrian was killed nearby just five months ago. The FOX31 Problems Solvers reported on the death of 57-year-old Lee Brewer.

He was killed at the intersection of North Peoria Street and East 17th Avenue in August last year by another driver who has never been found.

“It wasn’t fair. Whatever happened to safety? Call 911. There’s no more of that,” Brewer’s sister said after the incident in August of 2022.

The car that killed Brewer was described as a charcoal gray 2007 or 2008 Honda Pilot SUV or similar. 

Brewer’s sister said the family continues trying to search for the person who killed her brother.

A memorial sign with Brewer’s name on it now asks people to drive safely. People who use the sidewalks in the area say much more is needed to prevent other pedestrians from being killed.

The intersection sits in Ward 1 represented by Crystal Murillo and she did not respond to the Problem Solvers’ call for a response. A city spokesperson told FOX31 a response would be coming.

Aurora responds to danger concerns

Senior Media Relations Strategist for the City of Aurora Michael Brannen provided FOX31 with this response:

Public safety is a top priority for Aurora’s Public Works Department. As you know, the Aurora Police Department continues to investigate the circumstances of this morning’s incident, but the initial investigation revealed that the pedestrian was not using a crosswalk when he began crossing Peoria Street, which is a seven-lane arterial roadway at 19th Avenue, when the hit-and-run driver struck him.

Staff received a request to review the intersection in 2018 and provided the attached response. To date, since 2010, there has only been one request.

City staff continuously monitor crash patterns and identify opportunities to improve safety in our built infrastructure. Two safety projects are currently underway immediately adjacent to the location in question.  A project starting construction in the next few months will install a new traffic signal along with pedestrian crossing improvements at the 17th Avenue and Peoria Street intersection.  Funding for that project, which will improve five intersections total across the city, was obtained from a Highway Safety Improvement Program grant to mitigate specific correctable crash patterns. The city also has project in design to implement pedestrian safety improvements at eight intersections in Northwest Aurora. The locations chosen were based on a review of crash data, and funding for that project was obtained through the Safer Main Streets grant opportunity. 

Regarding studies and action planning, the Northwest Aurora Mobility Study (NWAMS) is a guidance document for implementation of pedestrian and bicycle improvements, some of which have been already implemented. The 25th Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard project recently widened the sidewalk from Fulton to Iola and was a NWAMS recommendation. The city also striped bicycle lanes on 23rd Avenue as part of this project. 

It should be noted that there are no planned projects at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Peoria Street at this time, but staff will review the recent crash details as soon as that information becomes available. 

This morning’s incident is tragic and serves as a harsh reminder for both drivers and pedestrians to be extra cautious and aware. Drivers should slow down, especially during dark hours, and always obey the speed limit. Pedestrians should always cross streets at crosswalks or intersections. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic.

Anyone with information on this crash is asked to call the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.