Raymond Sanchez Was the Fifth Person Killed Walking on Federal Blvd This Year

The scene of Raymond Sanchez's death. Image: Google Maps
The scene of Raymond Sanchez's death. Image: Google Maps

Raymond Sanchez, 57, was the fifth person killed by a driver this year on Federal Boulevard, Denver’s deadliest street.

Sanchez was crossing Federal at Arkansas Avenue on August 24 at about 9:10 p.m. when a driver in a Mitsubishi Outlander stuck and killed him, according to the Denver Police Department.

Denver PD filed no charges and blamed the victim for the crash. According to the police report, the driver was adhering to the 40 mph speed limit, and Sanchez, identified in the report as a “transient,” was crossing against the traffic signal. The police cited no evidence, such as video or witness statements, to corroborate the department’s account of how the crash occurred.

As is common practice for Denver PD, public details on this crash are scant. The version of the police report [PDF] provided to Streetsblog is incomplete. Details including whether the driver performed an “avoidance maneuver” were omitted.

If the crash happened as Denver PD says, at a fundamental level we have a person in Sanchez who made a mistake by crossing against the traffic signal. We have another person, operating a multi-ton machine, obeying the law by driving 40 mph — a speed that gives pedestrians a 27 percent chance of surviving according to the Hancock administration’s own Vision Zero plan.

This six-lane section of Federal Boulevard is designed to facilitate fast driving. Assuming Sanchez was crossing against the signal, it should not have cost him his life.

Human beings are fallible so their environments have to be forgiving. Hancock’s plan calls specifically for engineering safe streets for everyone, reducing motorist speeds, and improving data and transparency. While we wait for those things to happen, lives remain at risk.