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Hit-and-run driver races past runners in Denver marathon

DENVER (AP) — A hit-and-run driver slammed through a barricade for the Colfax Marathon on Sunday and raced past runners on the opposite side of the highway, narrowly missing pedestrians and leaving some runners stunned.

There were no reports of any injuries.

Retired Denver police officer Lester Melonakis said he saw the vehicle speeding down the four-lane highway and started yelling.

“He was parallel to the runners on the opposite side of the street. There were people getting ready to cross the street and I started yelling, ‘Get out of the way, get out of the way,'” he said.

The truck sped past and was later found abandoned in Denver. The suspect has not been found.

Race organizer Creigh Kelley said he saw the truck coming down the race route parallel to the runners as it headed into Denver.

“He was flying by. It was unbelievable,” he said.

Another witness told race organizers the vehicle came “screaming by” with a torn up bumper.

Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis said three Lakewood officers were standing by the barricades when the truck crashed through. He said the truck raced down the marathon route for a few blocks, turned onto a side road, then turned back onto the route before crossing into Denver and turning south on Interstate 25 halfway down the Colfax viaduct.

Davis said it occurred early in the race, but there were thousands of runners still on the course. He did not know how many runners saw the speeding truck.

He said one runner who was near the barricades t stopped running and came up to an officer and said, “Wow, that was close.”

“We called off the chase. It was too dangerous. There was a lot of concern with thousands of runners on the course,” Davis said.

Davis said the driver was first spotted sleeping in a running vehicle, slumped over the wheel. When officers tried to contact him, he took off and hit several cars and a building.

After that, police say the driver crashed through a barricade and turned onto the marathon route. Police lost sight of him when he went into Denver.

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