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Young Artist's Hit-And-Run Death Happened In Popular Street Racing Area

DENVER (CBS4) - The victim in a hit-and-run crash that happened Sunday night in Denver was a 26-year-old artist who was crossing the street.

Nicholas Richling
Nicholas Richling (credit: CBS)

Nick Richling was struck and killed by a driver who took off. It happened in an area that neighbors say is popular for illegal street racing.

One person has been arrested, but police are also looking for the driver of another car as well as reviewing surveillance video from nearby businesses. They say the street cameras that are positioned on the street poles at the intersecion -- Alameda Avenue and West Morrison Road -- were pointed in the wrong direction when the crash happened.

Richling was only a block away from his home when he was struck. Witnesses told police an orange Dodge Caliber was revving its engine next to a black sedan.

(credit: CBS)

The driver of the Dodge, which crashed into Richling, was a 17-year-old with a learner's permit. Police said he called his parents before he was turned in to authorities. The other driver is on the run.

"There are organizations that use social media to set these thing up and bring in a crowd but they are so brief in their occurrence that whether it's spontaneous or not officers typically don't have an opportunity to be there when they occur," Denver Police Traffic Investigations Sgt. Mike Farr said.

Organized street racing is frustrating law enforcement around the Denver metro area. A CBS4 investigation last year uncovered teams of street racers all around Denver, topping speeds of 100 miles an hour and taking their dangerous sport to busy highways and streets.

"They start each other from Morrison Road down and then they go through here," a neighbor told CBS4.

Police do not know if the incident Sunday night was coordinated, but neighbors say on that stretch of Alamea drag races happen every weekend night.

"It's terrible. You need more protection out here," the neighbor said.

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