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Bus stop hit-and-run driver who fled on foot gets max sentence

Mark Skipper is seen fleeing the scene of a Denver hit-and-run accident that injured three in July 2013.

Mark Skipper is seen fleeing the scene of a Denver hit-and-run accident that injured three in July 2013.

DENVER — While many argued substance abuse was at the heart of the accident, a judge told Mark Skipper on Thursday he could not get away from the fact that man convicted of injuring three when he plowed his car into a bus stop fled the scene on foot.

“That speaks volumes,” the judge said before issuing the maximum allowable sentence of six years in jail. “I need to keep you off the streets for a long as I can.”

Three people suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries when Skipper crashed his vehicle into an RTD bus stop near Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street on July 30. A bystander at the scene urged Skipper not to flee, and took photos and video of him before he was able to do so.

Those images were widely circulated by local media before Skipper was taken into custody the following day. He eventually entered a guilty to charges of vehicular assault, third-degree assault and violation of bond conditions.

Skipper appeared in custody at the sentencing hearing Thursday, and took full responsibility for his actions. His pastor also spoke at the hearing, saying the 54-year-old has “struggled for years with substance abuse.”

The judge tended to agree that Skipper needed help, but said “I’m not sure in terms of a sentence what I can do to help you get the help you need.”