A 31-year-old semi-truck driver in Colorado was arrested this week for allegedly running over a locksmith following a dispute over payment, then continuing to make a scheduled delivery. Erick Mejia was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with one count of felony vehicular homicide, authorities announced.
According to a press release from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 28, investigators responded to a 911 call requesting a welfare check at 1 Digicomm Drive. Upon arriving at the scene, authorities found a 55-year-old male victim “laying on the ground beside a white passenger van.”
“Deputies began CPR until South Metro Fire Rescue arrived and took over life-saving efforts, but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene,” the release states.
Investigators said they found the victim’s van parked next to a white semi-truck that was being driven by Mejia.
“When Mejia started to drive forward and leave the scene, he struck the victim and his van causing fatal injuries,” police said. “Mejia then left the scene of the accident, made a delivery to Digicomm and left the area.”
ACSO deputies were able to track Mejia’s semi-truck as it was heading southbound on I-25 towards El Paso, Texas. Officers with the Fountain Springs, Colorado Police Department performed a traffic stop on Mejia’s vehicle in the area around Mile Marker 125 where they detained Mejia. He was taken into custody and transported to the police department for questioning.
ACSO deputies subsequently arrived at the police station and placed Mejia under arrest. He was processed and booked at the Arapahoe County Detention Facility in lieu of $100,000 bond.
According to a report from the Denver Gazette, family members of the deceased identified the victim as Guillermo Duran-Mejia. The victim’s van was reportedly registered to a local locksmith company where Duran-Mejia was employed.
A sworn probable cause affidavit obtained by the newspaper said that investigators obtained surveillance footage of the incident. The footage reportedly showed the semi-truck being driven by Mejia “sideswiping Duran-Mejia’s vehicle and ultimately hitting him.” A short while later, that same semi-truck reportedly appears on surveillance footage making a delivery at a business located at the Digicomm Drive address.
The Gazette report included additional information about the investigation, describing how employees at the business positively identified Mejia as the delivery driver, which enabled investigators to track and locate the vehicle and Mejia. Investigators called Mejia and instructed him to stay in his current location until law enforcement arrived. However, Mejia then drove south until he was stopped by police just outside of Colorado Springs.
In an interview with sheriff’s detectives, Mejia said that he called Duran-Mejia to perform locksmith services on his vehicle. After Duran-Mejia performed the requested service, the two men reportedly fought over the payment. Mejia claimed that the victim “ripped up” money and hit his semi-truck with some kind of “auto theft prevention device” during the altercation.
Following the dispute, Mejia told detectives that he got back in his vehicle and began driving away. While driving towards the delivery site, Mejia reportedly said that he “turned towards” the victim’s van in order to “avoid hitting a tree.”
According to the Gazette, Mejia claimed that he knew he’d struck Duran-Mejia’s van with the semi-truck, but was not aware that he’d actually struck the victim until he saw Duran-Mejia on the ground when he looked back.
Mejia is currently scheduled to appear in Arapahoe County Court on Jan. 4.
A GoFundMe page set up by Duran-Mejia’s children had raised more than $10,000 for his funeral service as of Saturday morning.
“My father, a locksmith, received a call from a client to help him with his semi-truck,” the children wrote on the page. “My father told him the price before and proceeded to continue once Eric agreed. After my father finished, [Mejia] did not want to pay my father. There was an argument and [Mejia] said he will be right back. Eric got onto his semi-truck and ran my father over.”
The children also described him as “the best father in the world,” saying he “always supported his wife and five daughters.”