DENVER — A tow truck driver took on the role of good Samaritan on Monday morning when he stopped a driver who had just hit a boy who was crossing the street.
The hit-and-run driver was northbound on Yosemite Street and turned left onto East Colfax Avenue about 6:30 a.m., clipping the 10-year-old who was crossing Colfax with his mom, the Denver Police Department said.
Little could the driver know two complete strangers would step up to bring him to justice.
“Everybody looks at us like we’re, you know, the bad guy out there towing everybody’s cars to the impound. But in actuality we’re here to help everybody,” said Justin De Cesari, who has worked for Aaliyah’s Towing for about one year.
And Monday morning he put those words into action.
“I stopped at the light at Colfax, right before I-70. I seen this white van in the right-hand lane and a car pulling up next to him. The gentleman in the car got out and walked up to the van and started knocking on the window and said, ‘Hey man. You ran that kid over. You need to go back.’ Well, the guy rolled up his window and fled the scene,” he said.
The man then asked De Cesari if he would help.
“I got three kids. I mean, my kids are my everything. So you know, I wouldn’t expect anybody to do anything less,” De Cesari said.
What he did was follow the hit-and-run driver in the white van to Interstate 270 and Vasquez Boulevard. Another man was in the van with him.
“I had my lights on I was honking letting people know I was coming through and people were moving over for me. And eventually I got around to the point where I could get in front of him. And that’s when I cut him off and I blocked him in so he couldn’t leave,” he said.
The other driver blocked him in from the back. De Cesari called police. All the while he’d been towing a load.
“I was towing a mini RV,” he said with a smile.
It’s unusual to be towing about 6,000 pounds while chasing a suspect — to say the least. But police said it’s best to leave the crime fighting to them.
“You don’t ever want to put yourself in harms way — you or other people. You don’t know what this person is capable of. They did just commit a crime. So we want you to be safe,” Denver police spokeswoman Christine Downs said.
But it all worked out for the tow truck driver by night. And on this morning, a hero by day.
”If we didn’t stop him or caught up to him, that guy could have gotten away with hitting a kid,” De Cesari said.
De Cesari said he wishes he had gotten the other driver’s name. If you know who he is, let us know through our tip line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 10-year-old boy was not hurt. The suspected hit-and-run driver was taken into custody and hasn’t been identified.
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