Arrest made in October hit and run
TORRINGTON – An arrest was made the afternoon of Dec. 8 in the hit and run accident which sent a Torrington woman to the hospital in late October.
Juan Gallardo Gomez was booked into the Goshen County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center on Thursday afternoon pursuant to an arrest warrant. Deputies arrested Gomez for one count each of felony aggravated assault and battery, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death, duty to give information and render aid and failure to maintain liability coverage (compulsory auto insurance).
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause filed by Trooper Samuel Szott of the Wyoming Highway Patrol on Nov. 14, 2022, Szott “responded to the Torrington Police Department to assume the primary investigative role in a hit-and-run collision which had occurred around 0700 that morning. The suspect driver had been identified as the father of a Torrington Police Officer.”
Szott states the collision occurred at 7:12 a.m. at the intersection of Main Street and West Valley Road (Highway 26).
“A pedestrian had been walking north in the crosswalk on the left side of Main Street crossing West Valley Road. A white SUV made a left hand turn from Main Street onto West Valley Road, struck the pedestrian and continued on its way without stopping,” the affidavit reads. “A school bus had been stopped on West Valley Road at the intersection. The onboard cameras showed the vehicle and pedestrian approaching the area of impact as well as the SUV leaving the scene but did not capture the impact. “
Torrington Police Officer Juan Gomez allegedly received a call from his father who said he thought he may have hit someone earlier in the day, as stated in the affidavit. Learning this information, Officer Gomez reported the matter to his supervisor, Sgt. Kevin Polson, and the defendant in the matter met with Trooper Szott at the Torrington Police Department.
Szott interviewed Gomez at the Torrington Police Department.
“Gomez Gallardo stated he had been on his way to work when he made a left turn onto US Highway 26 (Locally known as West Valley Road) from Main Street,” the affidavit reads. “He stated he heard an impact but did not see anything. He told me he stopped to look behind but did not exit the vehicle. I asked if he had moved onto a side street before stopping and Gomez Gallardo said no he had just stopped momentarily to look and continued when he didn’t see anything. Gomez Gallardo told me after he arrived at work something didn’t feel right and he went to check his car and saw a broken driver side headlight. He then said he called his son to say he thought he had hit something.”
Gomez purportedly told Trooper Szott he did not have insurance because he could not afford it.
Szott later inspected the Gomez’ vehicle and found “damage consistent with a pedestrian collision which included a crack in the front bumper, a broken piece of the grille, slight crumpling in the hood as well as a circular dent in the hood approximately 3/4 of the way toward the windshield. This damage was on the passenger side of the vehicle. I also noticed two small spots of blood along the passenger side fender. “
On Nov. 7, Szott indicates he followed up with an additional witness who had been stopped behind the school bus when the accident occurred. The unnamed witness alleged, “the collision occurred on the passenger side of the vehicle and stated it appeared as though the vehicle swerved to the right in order to dislodge the pedestrian from its hood before continuing on its way.”
Despite having filed an initial information in the case on Nov. 16, a criminal warrant wasn’t issued by Circuit Court Judge Nathaniel Hibben until Dec. 8. Pursuant to the warrant and information obtained from the Goshen County Sheriff’s Office’s website, Gomez remains incarcerated without bond as of Friday morning, Dec. 9.
Pursuant to the warrant, bond will be determined by the court upon Gomez’ arraignment in Goshen County Circuit Court.
NOV. 3 TELEGRAM REPORT
TORRINGTON – The Torrington Police Department responded to a report of a vehicle and pedestrian collision at Main Street (Highway 85) and Valley Road (Highway 26) at 7:02 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
According to a release from the department, “A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle that subsequently left the scene of the accident. The pedestrian was transported from the scene by ambulance for serious injuries.”
The victim in the collision, Andrea Griffin, remains hospitalized in Greeley, Colorado. According to family members, Griffin was in surgery for six and a half hours and sustained three skull fractures, cheek factures, lacerations to her face, a hip replacement, a severely injured left arm which resulted in two plates and 28 screws, a broken left wrist and a broken elbow.
The Torrington Police Department turned the investigation over to the Wyoming Highway Patrol due to a noted conflict of interest for the department’s involvement in the investigation.
“As our officers were conducting the investigation into this collision, we became aware of a conflict that had the potential to damage the integrity of the investigation and negatively impact future prosecution of the case,” Torrington Police Chief Matt Johnson explained. “To alleviate this concern, I contacted the Wyoming Highway Patrol and requested their assistance with the investigation. The Wyoming Highway Patrol graciously agreed to assist and dispatched a Trooper with specialized training in accident investigation and reconstruction.”
Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Andrew Frye told the Telegram the collision remains under investigation. Frye said the trooper investigating the matter is a traffic reconstructionist and the nature of his skills and expertise are best suited for investigations of this kind.
The Telegram will report more on this matter when more information becomes available.
Johnson added, “Because this investigation is being managed by the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Torrington Police Department will not be able to provide any additional information until their investigation is complete.”