An orthopedic surgeon was in the right place at the right time Tuesday when a man was severely injured after a car smashed into a bus stop on East Colfax Avenue near Josephine Street.
Dr. Michael Shen of Advanced Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists was getting his hair cut when he heard the crash.
"I ran out and initially saw two victims," said Shen, who was wearing his medical scrubs at the time. "One looked as though he was possibly impaled by the car."
The sidewalk along Colfax near the scene of the crash was covered with debris, including one of the wheels that snapped off the car, a late-model Saab hatchback.
The victim, a man in his 50s, had severe injuries to his lower extremities where pieces of the bus-stop bench speared his legs, Shen said. The other injured people suffered minor injuries, mostly bumps and bruises, police said.
Police using dogs searched around the scene for the driver of the car, who fled on foot, police said.
The driver was described as a bald black man 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.
The incident happened just before 2 p.m. Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said a car traveling west on Colfax jumped the curb and hit three people.
Witnesses said the driver sped through the intersection, hit the curb, that the car slid down the sidewalk. Surveillance video from a nearby 7-Eleven obtained by 7News shows the car clipping a lamp post, sending one wheel flying.
The driver did not appear to be injured in the crash, witnesses said.
Medical crews did not remove the spears of wood from the victim's leg for fear of exacerbating his injuries, Shen said.
It was unclear whether the man's wounds could have been fatal had Shen not been on scene, but the doctor did not consider himself a hero.
"It's my job," he said.
Shen said he was mainly concerned with getting the man stabilized and tending to the injuries to his legs.
"Paramedics and firefighters were toward his head, giving great encouraging news," Shen said. "I can't say enough about those guys. They do these things every day."
The injured people were taken to area hospitals, Denver Fire Department spokesman Mark Watson said.
Westbound Colfax was closed at Josephine Street during the investigation but reopened before 4:30 p.m.
One man was arrested at the scene when he crossed the yellow crime-scene tape to take a picture of the car with his cellphone.
Denver Post Staff Writer Ally Marotti contributed to this report.