It was about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, 2010 when Ritchie and his friend, 22-year-old Mike Hulbert, were on their way home after a night country dancing downtown with a group of friends. They were on Interstate 225 near 6th Avenue when Ritchie says he noticed a car behind him put his headlights on bright on and got very close to his bumper.
“I tapped my breaks a few times to let the driver know to back off a little bit,” he said.
Ritchie says there was another car right beside him so he could not change lanes to get away from the aggressive vehicle.
“Then the car behind me sped up and it looked like he was going to pass, but he didn’t pass,” he said.
Ritchie remembers hearing gunshots. He does not remember how many.
“Mike looked at me and said, ‘Ritchie I’ve been hit,’” he remembered. “I said, ‘You are going to be OK.’ Then I saw him look up and his eyes rolled into his head, his mouth opened, it was like he was looking up to God. It all happened so quick.”
Whoever pulled the trigger there on the highway is still out there. It is a terrifying thought to Ritchie’s mother, father and older brother.
Aurora Police Det. Tom Wilson says tips are coming in, but they are waiting for the right tip that will lead them to the shooter.
Hulbert’s dad, Scott, is hopeful it will come. Ritchie’s family is hopeful too.
“I miss Mike so much. I love him like my own son. I feel so torn. I am so relieved that my son is alive, that he made, but then this other son is gone. I don’t know what to do with all these emotions,” Ritchie’s mother said.
Ritchie says he never imagined that what seems to be road rage would go to this extreme in a Denver suburb.
“So many people drive that area. It could happen to anyone. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. There are so many ‘What ifs?’ Every day I think about what could have been different if I stopped to get something to eat. What if we had stopped for gas? We just can’t change what happened,” he said.
Hulbert was buried on Thursday. His dad says more than 700 people who love him came to the service. Not one of them can begin to understand how it came to that.
While talking about it, Ritchie put his head in his hands and cried.
“It is so hard. It’s so hard. I miss him so much. I just want them to find this guy. We are going to find him if it is the last thing I am going to do,” he said.
Police say the gunman was in a dark SUV with dark tinted windows. The headlights were stacked. The top one is white, the bottom one is amber. Ritchie also remembers two fog lights across the bumper when the driver put the brights on.
Detectives want to hear from any homeowner or business owner along the 225 corridor from Colfax to Parker Road who may have video surveillance equipment that shows the highway. They are hoping a camera captured video of the SUV before it exited the highway.
There is a $35,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case.
If you have any information about this case, call Det. Tom Wilson at 303-739-6711.