No charges for man seen driving Jeep into Aurora protest

But the DA said any new evidence could make him reconsider his decision.

A driver in a blue Jeep speeds through a protest demanding justice for Elijah McClain. A protester fired a gun as the vehicle drove by, shooting other protesters on July 25, 2020.

A driver in a blue Jeep speeds through a protest demanding justice for Elijah McClain. A protester fired a gun as the vehicle drove by, shooting other protesters on July 25, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
2019.cpr-staff-Andrew-Villegas-576×720-for-web-creditCPR

The driver of a Jeep that drove through a group of protesters blocking I-225 in Aurora in July won’t face charges, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler announced on Wednesday.

Brauchler said at a press conference that there’s not enough evidence to charge the driver with a crime.

Brauchler showed several videos of the event that he said suggests the driver, who was not named, attempted to avoid people as he drove through the crowd.

The driver got onto I-225 without knowing there was a protest ahead of him, Brauchler said. He slowed down when he saw people, but was hit by a Ford F-150 truck that purposely swerved to hit him, he said.

Protesters did not have permission to enter the highway, which had mid-day weekend traffic. Brauchler showed one video of a man stopped by a protester on her bicycle who was trying to get through on I-225 to take his child to a hospital.

Brauchler decided not charge protesters who streamed onto the highway with a crime either, to encourage people to come forward if they have evidence or information in the Jeep case.

“I’m interested in the truth, and I’m interested in the evidence that exists,” he said.

Brauchler also said that he will not seek charges against the driver of a Ford F-150 truck that investigators believe tried to stop the jeep from driving into the crowd on I-225.

Around 5 p.m. on July 25 outside the Aurora Police Department headquarters on Alameda Parkway, protesters began to gather in raincoats  to continue demands for accountability in the death of Elijah McClain.

A couple of hours into the protest, as demonstrators marched and blocked traffic on I-225, a driver accelerated a Jeep through the crowd. Law enforcement says one protester Samuel Alvin Young, 23, of Wheat Ridge, fired a gun at the Jeep, instead striking two people, one in the leg and another near the temple of their head. 

Young faces four counts of attempted murder, as well as two counts of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of first-degree assault with extreme indifference. Young shot at the car while it drove past protesters, according to the arrest affidavit submitted by Aurora police. Young called police and identified himself as the person of interest in the case.

Young was arrested by Aurora police on July 27. He is free on a $75,000 bond.

Brauchler said he weighed what to do for weeks and talked to 30 witnesses.

“If this guy wants to run into people, he had plenty of opportunity to do that before,” Brauchler said. “After the collision, it appears to me … it’s the opposite, he has plenty of opportunity to to not care where he is on the road, instead, given the circumstances, he exhibits care to not strike another person.”

Brauchler said he wouldn’t have necessarily made the same decision, but the decision the jeep driver made “was not a criminal one.”

Brauchler said if any new evidence that comes to his office suggests the driver of the Jeep committed a crime, he will consider charges and under Colorado law, he has 18 months to charge the driver with a crime.

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