Nov 112003
Authors: Amy Resseguie

Will White’s truck has been hit twice while parked in a CSU

parking lot, resulting in a total of nearly $3,200 in damage.

In October, White, a sophomore agricultural business major,

found a note on his windshield informing him that a woman had hit

his 2001 GMC pickup and dented the door of his extended cab.

Because the woman left her contact information, neither White nor

his insurance company had to pay for any repairs.

The accident one year earlier was a different story.

In October 2002, White’s truck was hit in the Braiden Hall

parking lot.

“Someone was backing up and [hit] the back portion of the bed,”

White said. “They didn’t leave a name or number or anything.”

White filed a police report, and his own insurance company

covered the $1,400 in repairs. White said that because it was a

hit-and-run accident, he did not have to pay a deductible.

Hit-and-run accidents are a fairly common occurrence on campus

and the consequences are significant, said Capt. Bob Chaffee of the

CSU Police Department. “Anytime you cause damage or injuries (with

a vehicle) you must leave a note.”

If a person does damage to a car and does not leave his or her

contact information, that person faces a 12-point ticket against

his/her driver’s license, fees and the cost of court appearances,

depending on the court and severity of the accident.

Chaffee said that approximately 20 percent of hit-and-run cases

are solved when a third party witnesses the accident and reports

the license plate and description of the car to the police or to

the owner of the damaged car.

“A lot of cases we solve are due to Good Samaritans … because

somebody happened to be in the right place at the right time,”

Chaffee said.

He also encourages people who do witness a hit-and-run accident

to report it.

“If you see an accident, call us, because they need to take

responsibility,” Chaffee said. “To bang something like (a car), you

hear it and feel it …it’s not something that happens outside of

one’s awareness.”

Chaffee said that accidents occur two to three times a week in

both student and faculty parking lots across campus.

“Often people have got too much on their mind, or they’re not

paying attention,” he said.

In late October, Nate Beckman, a sophomore open option student,

was parked at First Bank, 2315 S. College Ave., when someone backed

into his driver’s side door. When Beckman returned to his 1986

Honda Prelude, he could only open the door far enough to squeeze in

and drive home. The other driver did not leave a note.

Beckman said he did not report the accident to the police

because he plans on repairing the car himself. However, he would

have appreciated a note.

“I probably would have called them and said thank you (for

leaving a note),” Beckman said. “I wouldn’t have made anyone pay

for it, but it would have made me feel better.”

Chaffee said that if someone is going to report an accident, it

should be done immediately. If one waits, then it is harder to make

a case, and the victim could actually end up being cited for

failure to report an accident, he said.

Nick Zenzen, owner of Fort Collins Collision Repair, 209 W.

Troutman Pkwy, said approximately one of five cars that the

business repairs are damaged while in a parking lot.

“The damage can be anything from a door ding to a scrape going

down the whole side of the vehicle,” Zenzen said. “The most common

is usually damage to a bumper.”

Zenzen said the average cost of repairs is between $400 and


“Sometimes the store (where the car was parked) pays, sometimes

people leave a note on the windshield, sometimes people hit and run

… about half the time insurance will pay for it,” he said.

Beckman, however, is not concerned about any potential repair

costs. Rather he is frustrated by the fact that whoever hit him did

not claim responsibility.

“It irritates me a lot,” he said. “I’ll always leave a



Hit and Run

In Colorado, whenever any damage is done to a person or

property, drivers are required by law to stop and contact

authorities (42-4-1603(1-2)).

(Colorado Judicial Branch)




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