Aurora family wants justice for death of teen in car accident

AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora family is grieving — and demanding justice — after their 17-year-old was killed when his car was broadsided by a possible drunk driver.

There is a bill that could toughen up Colorado law in cases just like this.

The bill would make prison mandatory for drunk drivers who kill or injure people. It’s important to note, in this deadly crash, the second driver is still in the hospital and has not been charged yet.

And police only suspect that he was drunk.

There is a growing memorial at East Colfax Avenue and Dayton Street for the teenager’s family. They’re going through the pain of losing their son.

A few hours before 17-year-old Juan Palomino was hit and killed by a suspect drunk driver, he was with loved ones at a family dinner.

“He said bye aunt, I’m going with my friends you know and he leaves happy, you know,” said Maria Palomino, an aunt.

At the intersection of Colfax and Dayton, friends and family of the teenager find comfort in each other.

“To know that I lost my best friend last night, it breaks my heart,” Misael Longoria said.

“Not even a two-minute drive. He never made it home,” Nancy Sanchez said. “And we hope and expect that the law gets tougher on these people who kill innocent people.”

Police will continue to look at all evidence, including surveillance video showing the impact of the crash. Meanwhile, at the State Capitol, there’s an effort to change Colorado law in cases where a driver kills or seriously injures someone.

Right now, many offenders — more than a dozen in the past 10 years — are sentenced to probation.

“We cannot allow this to keep happening where people get drunk, they get behind the wheel of a car,” said Alma Sanchez, an aunt of the victim. “Basically a deadly weapon and they cause all of this sorrow and grief and our family’s never going to be the same.”

Police say the driver who allegedly ran the red light is still in the hospital and he won’t be charged until he’s released.

He’s facing several charges, including vehicular homicide and drunk driving.