Police arrest school teacher accused in hit-and-run that critically injured student


Erin Jackson is suspected in hit-and-run that critically injured East H.S. student

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DENVER -- Denver Police arrested a 31-year-old woman Thursday in the hit-and-run that left an East High School student in critical condition one day earlier.

The suspect, Erin Jackson, turned herself in to Denver police Thursday morning.

Shortly after 11 a.m., a Denver Police Department tweet declared the woman a suspect in the crime, and indicated officers had taken the 31-year-old into custody.

The tweet also indicated that police had recovered the vehicle that they believe was involved in the crash.

Police say the victim, 16-year-old Deyondrah Bridgeman, was stable but still in critical condition Thursday. Her mother told them she has a serious brain injury but she was doing much better than on Wednesday.

Erin Jackson's faculty picture at Axl Academy Charter School in Aurora
Erin Jackson's faculty picture at Axl Academy Charter School in Aurora

Erin Jackson is a 5th grade teacher at AXL Academy, a charter school in Aurora. A biography on a faculty web page says she "recently moved to Colorado and is originally from Lawrence, Massachusetts."

It goes on to say: "Erin is passionate about learning, helping her students acquire an authentic understanding of the world and enjoys slam poetry. Erin received her B.A. in History and Education and her Master in Health Education at Boston University. Erin is looking forward to exploring Colorado, but will miss the ocean!"

AXL Academy's Head of School released a statement Thursday night. "We are shocked to learn of Erin’s involvement in this terrible accident," says Audra Philippon. "We can confirm that Erin has been employed as an intermediate teacher at AXL for approximately 8 months."

"We are keeping the victim in our thoughts and prayers and wish her a full recovery.  At this time, our top priority is supporting our students as they learn of this sad news.”

Police say they found the car the suspect was driving not far from where the hit-and-run happened. She lives in the area of 16th Ave. and Gaylord St. One neighbor said he saw her walking her dog in the neighborhood Wednesday.

He says Denver sheriff's deputies came and towed the car away.

Medina Alert Issued After Hit-and-Run

Police issued a Medina Alert for the driver of a gray, four-door Dodge Stratus that hit the female high school student on Colfax Avenue Wednesday morning and then fled the scene.

The 16-year-old was in critical condition late Wednesday afternoon with a head injury. Police say she was walking in the crosswalk at Elizabeth Street with the right of way when she was hit at approximately 7:07 a.m.

RELATED: Watch surveillance footage of the crash

Police believed the vehicle was being driven by a woman. Earlier Wednesday, police released a partial license plate, but later retracted that description because it may not have been accurate.

The girl injured in the crash was one of two students hit by a vehicle in separate incidents on Colfax Wednesday morning. The other student suffered less serious injuries, and the driver of the vehicle that hit her, Scott Gravatt, remained on scene.

"I couldn't morally and in good conscious leave the scene," Gravatt said. "I'm not sure how anyone could. I already felt bad enough about not being able to see her because of a glare on my windshield and hitting her."

Police determined Gravatt was not at fault for the accident.

East High School posted a letter to parents on the school’s website from Principal Andy Mendelsberg saying “Our thoughts and well-wishes are with this student as she recovers from her injuries.”

Medina Alerts were created in 2012 and are named after 21-year-old valet Jose Medina, who as killed by a hit-and-run driver in January 2011.

A taxi cab driver followed the vehicle that hit Medina and reported it to police, eventually leading to an arrest.

  • East H.S. student Deyondrah Bridgeman
  • East H.S. student Deyondrah Bridgeman
  • Emergency crews tend to one of the victims of two auto vs. pedestrian crashes on Colax on the morning of Feb. 27, 2013.

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