BROOMFIELD, Colo. (KDVR) — Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the busiest of the year on Colorado roadways, and this year is no exception.
With COVID restrictions loosening across the state, many are viewing the weekend as their first real chance to travel in more than a year.
“It was going to be a fun, family weekend,” Melanie Hitt said. “Finally get to come down and visit the parents after several months of not seeing them.”
Hitt and her husband were caravanning in separate cars from their home in Silverthorne to Broomfield Friday night, when they made the turn onto 120th Avenue near Interstate 25.
“Just made that turn, and from out of nowhere, this little black car, blur, just kind of missed me by 3, 4 feet, but he nailed my husband,” Hitt said.
Hitt said the driver crossed the median, and took off, getting back on the highway to go south.
Northglenn Police said 53-year-old Alan Atencio was arrested a few minutes later, for DUI and failure to remain on scene of an accident.
“It was such a shock,” Hitt said. “And it just scared me, because my cousin, 11 years ago, July 5, she was hit and killed by a drunk driver.”
Hitt and her husband are both veterans, and said it’s disappointing to see people acting recklessly on a weekend that means so much to them.
“Every veteran that I know, we don’t say happy Memorial Day, because my husband and I were in the first Gulf War, and we lost people,” she said.
Hitt’s husband was not seriously injured in the crash, but they’re waiting on insurance adjusters to decide if his Dodge Dakota is totaled.
Across Colorado, more than 80 law enforcement agencies have teamed up to crack down on impaired driving this weekend.
“We are going to make our presence known, because we want to stop these behaviors, before they hurt somebody,” Sgt. Blake White with Colorado State Patrol said. “It’s not only your life, it’s the fines that you can face. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to pay for a ride share, than the potential of a DUI.”