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Hit-and-run suspect found after crash that killed Weld County deputy

Alexis Hein-Nutz_killed in weld county crash Sept 18 2022
Weld County Sheriff’s Office_fatal hit-and-run_AA Street and 37th
Posted at 7:09 AM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 10:36:50-04

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — A Weld County deputy was killed by a hit-and-run driver while she was riding her motorcycle north of Greeley on Sunday afternoon.

In a social media post, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams confirmed that the motorcyclist killed Sunday at the intersection of AA Street and Weld County Road 37 was Weld County Deputy Alexis Hein-Nutz, 24, of Windsor. She was on her way to work. Her birthday is next week.

The sheriff's office said the crash happened around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Around that time, the driver of a white 2006 Ford minivan, who was traveling westbound on AA Street, and rider on a 2021 Kawasaki motorcycle, who was headed southbound on Weld County Road 37, crashed near the intersection, the sheriff's office and Colorado State Patrol (CSP) said.

Based on CSP's follow-up investigation, the driver of the van "proceeded from a stop sign at the intersection into the path of the motorcycle," and the motorcyclist collided with the front passenger side of the minivan.

Weld County Sheriff’s Office_fatal hit-and-run_AA Street and 37th

While deputies responded to the scene, the driver fled from the crash and into a nearby cornfield, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office identified the suspect driving the white minivan as Norberto Garcia-Gonzales, 35. He last resided in the Greeley area. He was described as a slightly heavyset Latino man in his 40s. He is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He was last seen in a dark blue shirt, blue jeans, and white tennis shoes.

Garcia-Gonzales was originally identified as Octavio Gonzales-Garcia, but the sheriff's office said Tuesday his true identity was Norberto Garcia-Gonzales.

Reams said investigators found a falsified Green Card and a fake Social Security Card in the minivan. They also found evidence that indicated Gonzales-Garcia may have been intoxicated.

A search for Gonzales-Garcia continued throughout the day and evening until he was found — thanks to numerous tips — and arrested around 10:15 p.m. in Fort Collins, the sheriff's office said.

Hein-Nutz joined the sheriff's office in November 2018. One month after graduating from the jail academy to become a detentions deputy, she wrote an excited post on Facebook, according to Reams.

Alexis Hein-Nutz_Weld County Sheriff's Office

“After many years of dreaming of being in law enforcement, I can finally say I am officially following my dreams. This is only the first stepping-stone to a brighter future. Here is to a better life and doing what I was meant to do," the post read.

Reams described her as a hard worker, caring deputy and positive force.

"I share in my deputies’ grief and in their anger over her senseless and tragic passing. But we are a family, and we will get through this painful event together," Reams said.

The sheriff’s office is accepting donations to help offset funeral costs for Hein-Nutz's family. The sheriff's office gave the following instructions:

  • You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Weld County Sheriff’s Office Posse and note Deputy Alexis Hein-Nutz in the memo
  • Checks can be sent or dropped off at Weld County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters, 1950 O St., Greeley, CO 80631
  • Include your name, address and phone number to receive a tax letter

CSP is leading this investigation.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to show that the suspect is Norberto Garcia-Gonzales. He was originally identified by the sheriff's office and CSP as Octavio Gonzales-Garcia.

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