Nicolas Ortega: Mysterious run across the highway leads to hit-and-run tragedy

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Big photos, video below.
From the beginning, authorities were unclear why Nicolas Ortega, 22, ran across Interstate 225 on Sunday evening -- a dash that resulted in his hit-and-run death and the subsequent arrest of the alleged driver, Tashima Littleton.

Days later, his family is still searching for answers even as they grapple with their grief.

Get details about this still-mysterious incident below, along with photos and video.

A high school athlete who excelled at wrestling, Ortega was in a relationship and getting serious, his father told 7News in a report on view below. His best friend describes him as "the most loving person you could ever meet."

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Ortega during his wrestling days, in a family photo shared by 7News.
His promising life was cut short at about 8:35 p.m. on February 2. According to the Aurora Police Department, a man subsequently identified as Ortega was crossing the southbound lanes of I-225 in the vicinity of the 2200 block when he was struck by a vehicle.

Ortega was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle's driver, a woman, didn't stop. But a witness managed to eyeball her license plate number. Before long, investigators traced the ride to an address near 6th Avenue and Moline occupied by Tashima Littleton, age thirty.

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The scene of the crash, from 7News coverage.
The APD notes that "intoxication is suspected," which may explain why Littleton kept going. However, she's not thought to have been speeding, and neither is she believed to have caused the accident, since Ortega was in a middle highway lane at night. As such, she was released following her arrest, and charges are said to be pending.

Meanwhile, Ortega's loved ones remain baffled about what happened immediately preceding the incident. They say he was riding with his girlfriend when she dropped him off on the side of the highway "for some reason." Afterward, his attempt to cross the interstate was cut short in a terrible way.

Look below to see Littleton's booking photo, followed by the aforementioned 7News report.

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Tashima Littleton.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa January 27: "Photos: Ernesto Wiedenbrug, cyclist, killed in hit and run, no suspects yet."

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64 comments
Renae Flores
Renae Flores

Why should she be charged with Domestic violence? Were you in the car? No u weren't you don't know what was going on. But every1 loves to bash Kassandra about it. Dont you think shes going through enough as it is? She will live life thinking all this was her fault. She loved Nick.

Renae Flores
Renae Flores

So sad.. I seen ppl Post a bad story about this on the Colorado dirty.com No1 knows what happened and I think its sick ppl are bashing my friend Kassandra

Jorge Quinones
Jorge Quinones

That's sad to hear I was just working with niklo this last summer! He was a good guy!

denver_cholo_13
denver_cholo_13

Why did his lady do that? Sad thing is, on her facebook, there is not one thing about Nick except for tagged things. She changed her pro pic to her and her homegirl. Something else is going on that she doesn't seem to care. R.I.P. Nick, you will definitely be missed!

quiet_vallejos_303
quiet_vallejos_303

Why did his lady do that? Sad thing is, on her facebook, there is not one thing about Nick except for tagged things. She changed her pro pic to her and her homegirl. Something else is going on that she doesn't seem to care. R.I.P. Nick, you will definitely be missed!

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

As I've told one other person, your emotional appeals amount to nothing. Common sense should tell one that attempting to dart across a heavily trafficked expressway at night will very likely not end well and that the sensible thing for him to have done was walk along the shoulder to the nearest exit ramp and into relative safety. However, people tend to completely eschew any and all common sense whenever in a heightened emotional state, doing utterly stupid shit...like running across a six-lane interstate busy with traffic at night when there is clearly ample shoulder room to safely walk to the nearest exit. "To refer to his decision to exit a presumably dangerous situation as his own choice..." And what "presumably dangerous situation" do you refer to, little miss Amber Rae? So far, no one -- not even the police -- knows what took place between him and the driver that led to his exiting so to claim to have insider knowledge just shows that you're a lying sack of shit. Besides, it is just as possible that he may have instigated this allegedly "presumably dangerous situation" you speak of, thereby forcing the driver to stop. "No where is it legal to come to a complete stop on the highway and let a passenger out" Unless if you're dealing with minors, it's not as 'clear cut.' If a passenger demands to be let out for any reason or is becoming unruly or even a threat to the driver or others in the vehicle, then the driver bears no responsibility to keep him/her inside the vehicle. Besides, it's not as if he was actually forced at gun point to dart INTO traffic, so she cannot be held responsible for HIS own boneheaded decisions.

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

Actually, Sunnie, I knew people who have, but unlike the majority of social media DWEEBS, I do not feel the need to personalize these events of hyper-local importance nor air personal demons out in public. Instead of knee-jerk emotional reaction, perhaps you should seriously consider approaching these and other current events/stories with a bit of logic and good ole fashioned common sense. Contrary to what you may believe, I am not bashing the victim. I am merely reiterating painful truth. Deal with it.

Stephen Lopez
Stephen Lopez

rest in peace brother you will be missed my prayers go out to your friends and family.

Mindy Vallejos
Mindy Vallejos

So sad, prayers for his family and friends, RIP Nicolas

HistoryRepeats
HistoryRepeats

The neck tattoo doesn't do the girlfriend much justice. I would have tried to run away from that shit, too. I-225 is a dangerous fast moving highway that no one should be playing around on, fight or no fight. I am a truck driver and have seen many fatalities on the roads over the years. Of course no one 'deserves' to die like this, but the question is, who is at fault? The guy standing in the middle of I-225?, the driver?, the girlfriend?

Shantel Barrios
Shantel Barrios

Rest in Paradise Ortega! We all miss you so much. Seriously have some respect. His friends and family lost an amazing person!

Darren Dina Vallejos
Darren Dina Vallejos

People hearts are broken right now....his dad, mom, uncle, aunts, cousins, family, friends! If you can not have respect for them...just keep your opinions to yourself!!! RIP young man....god please help the Ortega family get through this... :(

Jarod Reyes
Jarod Reyes

for some of us "fools" its not just "anything" its someone we grew up with

Ronnie Mooney
Ronnie Mooney

hahaha, this is fun. you fucking fools will bite on anything.

Jarod Reyes
Jarod Reyes

yeah youre right i should try and kill myself because i value a friends life. you shouldnt even have kids if you really have these perspectives. im sure theyre gonna grow up to be a fat POS like you.

Alyson Meyer
Alyson Meyer

Ronnie Mooney you are an inconsiderate peice of shit who is the one who really deserves to die.. or maybe get the shit kicked out of you. You are the idiot talking trash on facebook because your fucking address is published right on there! You better hope this isn't your one mistake that gets you killed. Just by judging your personality, I am assuming you have no life and have trashed talked on here many times thus pissing alot of people off. One day you will piss the wrong person off and I hope Westword will publish it so we can all laugh and criticize you so the whole world will know what a peice of shit Ronnie Mooney is!

Amber Rae
Amber Rae

@sterling Meeks Your a complete jackass. To refer to his decision to exit a presumably dangerous situation as his own choice to play a (miserably)failed game of frogger... How dare you!! You have no heart. I stated that it may have been his own decision to get out. But he didn't jump out.... He wasn't making haste decisions or he would have jumped out... So to imply he would want to make a haste decision like run across the highway for no apparent reason is just nonsense! She as the driver let him out where he was unsafe... Period. No where is it legal to come to a complete stop on the highway and let a passenger out...

Melissa Pena
Melissa Pena

Some of you people are so ignorant and have no heart!! RIP NICK

Sunnie Minjarez
Sunnie Minjarez

I hope no one in your family including yourself never makes a mistake and hasty decision, because I will be the first one to call you a hypocrite!!

Michael Casillas
Michael Casillas

Nick was a awesome person no one was more caring than him and for those jackasses who make their offending comments have respect for Nick he doesn't deserve this he was my teammate back in high school he was the best of friends and he was a great person he was an inspiration to many people and he a true legend and will always be remembered for the memories even friends are hurting bad for losing him it breaks my heart to people who didn't know him judge his decision and dont have respect for him I wish people understood how heart broken he's gone it not fair to him or his family and friends that people just dont care put yourself in our situation u will find it hard to lose a brother and friend to a careless human being

Ronnie Mooney
Ronnie Mooney

so i am an idiot, yet you send me a friend request?

Val Chavez
Val Chavez

No matter what the situation is a young man is dead. To post your ignorant comments and to be so disrespectful is horrible. Pray that your karma doesn't bite you or your family one day. It's pretty pathetic that even in death some people have no class!

jnjones86
jnjones86

"The vehicle's driver, a woman, didn't stop." Is it just me or was there hilarious sexism in this tragic article? My feels are confused now.

Tyler Cole
Tyler Cole

Rest in peace Nicholas Ortega I will always remember how you made every one around you laugh.

Tyler Cole
Tyler Cole

Ronnie Mooney your the biggest piece of shit I've ever seen on facebook I hope you get what you deserve for disrespecting a good guy like Nicolas Ortega. We all make bad decisions but you sir deserve any bad karma that comes among you.

Elizabeth Scherbarth
Elizabeth Scherbarth

If they're anything like you, they're ignorant jackasses who have no compassion for others.

Evangalina Ferguson
Evangalina Ferguson

Oh my! Do you seriously have no life? you continue to sit on the internet insulting a dead person that you know nothing about? I don't think a person can get much lower than that!

Ronnie Mooney
Ronnie Mooney

my "blood" and my kids are smart enough not to try to cross a fucking highway

Elizabeth Scherbarth
Elizabeth Scherbarth

You're a jackass Ronnie Mooney seriously?! NOBODY deserves to die! You can't sit here and say that when one of your loves dies "they deserved it" NO, you wouldn't ever say something like that about them. So keep your dam mouth shut, especially when you don't know the situation. If you didn't know him, don't talk about him and what he deserves, cause as far as I'm concerned, he deserves a hell of a lot more than what you ever will, considering the fact of how ignorant you come off! I pray you get better, and stop being a jackass.

Brittanie Lynne
Brittanie Lynne

Very sad to hear about this.. He was an awesome person. He will be missed!

Llewellyn Richmond
Llewellyn Richmond

Or more so your kid, I'll bet he wouldn't look like such an idiot in your eyes if he was killed the same way.

Ronnie Mooney
Ronnie Mooney

pehaps the two of you should try it, remove yourselves from the gene pool

Veronica Montoya
Veronica Montoya

Nick went to school with my nephew and niece. He was a funny and cute kid who always stood out in the crowd. One of my best memories of him was at my nieces powderpuff game. He was their cheerleader, running back and forth in the sidelines getting the crowd pumped up. I also remember seeing him do keg stands at my nephews party. While that may not be an appropriate memory, it just goes to show his crazy, fun personality. Rest in peace Nick. Your life was cut too short and it seems senseless.

Jarod Reyes
Jarod Reyes

youre a piece of shit, mistake or not there's no deserving of DEATH

Val Chavez
Val Chavez

We have ALL made poor decisions in life and luckily our bad choices didn't end up this way. Unfortunately this lapse in judgement killed a very loved young man. There were many poor choices made that night and there is not just ONE person to blame. All of you judgemental people should hope and pray that someone's lapse in judgement in a situation does not leave you or one of your loved ones hurt or killed as well.

toobe
toobe

@HistoryRepeats  Learn to read and comprehend a story before you comment on it. The woman with the tatoo was not his girlfriend, she is the alleged drunken driver who hit the victim, Mr. Ortega. May the Ortega family find peace one day.

HistoryRepeats
HistoryRepeats

I understand what you are saying but when you make statements like: "Rest In Paradise" , you are inviting trolls like me to crack Jihadist jokes on your behalf. Comment forums aren't the best place to go if you are looking for sympathy after you've lost a loved one because the trolls have no mercy. It's a jungle in here.

HistoryRepeats
HistoryRepeats

I wish this was the case. Unfortunately, the lack of sympathy in our society is a 'learned' behavior. We live in a country that WORSHIPS out of control police and military that solves all their problems with extreme violence and glamorizes  a lack of empathy for their fellow human being. It should not be surprising that we as a people are acting like bad kids with even worse parents (the state).....

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