FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KKTV) - A pickup driver ran into a pedestrian and fled the scene in a deadly hit-and-run. Two days later, he was arrested thanks to a tip from a citizen. On Friday, six months after the incident, the man was sentenced after he pleaded guilty in January.
Mario Michael Wells, 57.
Richard Bitters, 41, was arrested August 7, 2017, and charged with failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving death. On Jan. 17, Bitters pleaded guilty. He told the judge he drove off after the crash because he was scared. He was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison followed by five years of mandatory parole.
The victim, identified as 57-year-old Mario Michael Wells, died August 6.
Wells' family asked for their privacy while they grieved but said they were shocked to get the news. They said they were angry someone drove off and left a gravely injured man behind.
Wells' friend Selina Buell, a bartender at The Corner Pocket in Fountain, says she spoke to Wells just minutes before he was hit Saturday night.
She said he was walking home from the bar when it happened around 8:30 p.m.
"I had just talked to him, he was in such a good mood, he was like, 'I'm going to go home and get ready.'"
Buell said Wells was a great guy who loved being a father and grandfather. She says he would go out of his way to help others.
"For my birthday he knew I didn't have family here, so he brought me a cake and pizza here to work. I had chickens and he would bring me his eggs from his chickens. He was a really good guy ... he had a long ponytail when I first met him and he cut it, he donated it to cancer patients."
The crash was reported at 8:38 p.m. August 5, 20107, near the intersection of Highway 85 and Fontaine Boulevard in Fountain.