Last year, an Aurora, Co., auto body shop owner saw a news report about a vehicle wanted by Denver police in connection with a hit-and-run accident. The body shop owner recognized the truck. It was in his body shop. He called police, and the suspect was found. The Denver Post says that case inspired the Denver Police Department to create a program for seeking help from body shop owners in solving serious hit-and-run accidents, said Detective David Ryan of the department’s traffic investigations unit.
So far, 34 body shops have signed up for the program, which will e-mail alerts with vehicle descriptions and the type of damage to look for. Alerts only will be sent for accidents involving serious bodily injury or fatalities and when there is enough information to make a possible match. If a body shop owner believes a suspect’s car is in his garage, he can call police and detectives will be on their way. The garage owner will be asked to delay making repairs until police take a look. Denver police investigate thousands of hit-and-run cases each year. While most do not involve serious injury, their financial costs are extensive. This year, there have been seven fatal hit-and-run cases, and two remain unsolved. The department hopes to sign up hundreds of auto body shops in Denver and surrounding counties.