WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — For some time, drivers have been accustomed to seeing Carmen Cennamo holding up his sign at the corner of West 44th Avenue and Kipling Street.
"He wasn't an alcoholic. He wasn't a drug addict. He wasn't violent. He just was a broken person," said Jennie Heath, who knew Cennamo.
But after Sept. 29, drivers never again saw him at his corner. Wheat Ridge police say he fell from his walker and onto the road near West 41st Avenue and Kipling Street. A driver hit him and kept going.
"We were investigating this initially as a hit-and-run injury collision. And then, several days later, we got the news that that gentleman had passed away at the hospital," police spokesperson Joanna Small said.
Since then, police investigators had been working on all possible leads to find out who was behind the wheel. They only had a description of the car, which was spotted on surveillance video arriving at a nearby gas station shortly after the incident.
"They did a lot of work trying to pull a plate from there. Through that plate, they were able to identify a driver and speak with both the driver and the passenger, who both indicated they were unaware that they had struck somebody," Small said.
Because the incident wasn't caught on camera, and because the driver said they had no idea he hit someone, Small said the department isn't recommending charges and instead will let the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office make the decision.
"I know that's going to make some people angry, because it is a tragedy, and they want to see someone held accountable," Small said. "There's just not overwhelming evidence to suggest that something more nefarious had occurred, if that makes sense."
Now that the case is in the district attorney's hands, Heath hopes charges are considered.
"You knew you hit a man and a walker, and he was severely injured," she said. "I just think you have to step up for what you've done."
But even if nothing comes of the case, she hopes to remember Cennamo by getting a sign put up near his corner to remind drivers to be careful.
"He's not in pain, and he's not cold and he's not hungry. And now, he's with the Lord," she said.