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Tina Benner: The Hit-and-Run on Our Way To School


I saw a woman’s running shoe on the side of the road.

You know how sometimes that happens, when you see something random on the side of the road, and you wonder how it got there? Other times I’ve seen a child’s Croc that probably a frazzled mom’s three-year-old chucked out the window, or a man’s boot that maybe fell out of a trash can and got chewed up and dragged a few blocks by a stray dog. This time it was a pink and white running shoe. Mostly white with pink trim, and I remember some splashes of orange.

We left early for school on Tuesday morning because we needed to stop by my parents’ house to get the boys’ backpacks and allow time for them to finish their homework before school. Just when I’ve gotten good at getting them to school on time, of course we have to add obstacle courses of misplaced backpacks to keep me on my toes.

That’s why we were in traffic, in a long line of cars near University and Crossland in Highlands Ranch. The thing is, that’s not usually a slow traffic area on school mornings. We were traveling the direction into the suburbs, not out of it, and most of the drivers are headed out of the bedroom communities and into their jobs in Parker or Denver at that hour. The other side of the road can be a doozy, for sure, and I’m often glad I’m not stuck in their lane.  But this side? Usually smooth sailing.  There were many police cars, officers on foot, flashing lights, and onlooking.

“It looks like an accident, Mom,” one of my guys said.

“You’re right, buddy.  Something bad happened there,” I told him, as I saw the shoe laying near the sidewalk.  Something very bad.

Hours later, when I brought them home at the end of their day, traffic slowed again in that same spot – this time with news trucks.  Channel 7 and Fox 31 were on the scene.

Tonight, this came across my newsfeed:

A woman in Highlands Ranch is recovering from serious injuries after being hit by a car while jogging Tuesday morning. Police said that driver took off. The crash happened around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday on University Boulevard near Crossland Way.IMG_1005


Police think the woman was on the sidewalk when the accident occurred.  They are looking for a red Toyota or Lexus that is missing the passenger side-view mirror and has front end damage. Investigators told FOX31 they do not have any leads yet. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help tracking that person down.


Tina Benner was running on University Tuesday morning as part of her training for next month’s Denver Rock ’n Roll Marathon. Friends of hers said a girl walking to school found Benner injured, lying in a ditch.


Benner was airlifted to St. Anthony Hospital where she underwent surgery for serious injuries to her leg and head. Her friends said she was awake after surgery and is in stable condition, but is not out of the woods yet.

Oh my.  So that’s what happened.  Tonight, in the town where I live, a woman has been fighting for her life.  A teenage girl is dealing with the images and traumatic aftermath of finding a bleeding woman in a ditch while she walked to school.  A pastor’s church family has been thrust into action as they wait at the hospital, provide meals and care, and offer the only interviews and sound bytes the news can find right now on behalf of the woman so involved and now so terribly injured.  And somebody is losing sleep with the awareness that they crashed into a woman and drove away. Our community is shocked and sad tonight, as one of our own has been so seriously injured by one of our own.

I’m watching for that Red Lexus or Toyota.  And I can’t stop thinking about the running shoe.

* * *

Dear Tina, I’m praying for you.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. This was very well written- I love how you include interesting details to bring the reader right there! These hit and runs have got to stop! Imagine being on the news because a son was killed by one. As you know this happened to my son on the night of February 8th 2015 in downtown Denver. That scene will always be in my mind.
    On Friday the driver of the car that killed my son will hopefully plead guilty then at the sentencing trial I will have to put in words what I believe her sentencing should be.

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