Hit-and-Run Crash Kills Beloved Blue Pan Pizza Server

By Allen Cowgill

Just after midnight on Nov. 18, Nick Cordova was commuting home from his job as a shift manager at Blue Pan Pizza on his prized, red, gas-powered scooter. Cordova was traveling southbound on Speer Boulevard near Grove Street at the small intersection northwest of Walgreens when the driver of a white Chevy Trailblazer traveling in the opposite direction on Speer hit and killed Cordova, then left the scene of the crash.

Denver Police said that “the driver fled the scene of this crash without stopping, rendering aid, or leaving information required by law.” 

A poster taped to a pole outside of Blue Pan Pizza on West 32nd Avenue with details on the crash that killed Nick Cordova. Photo by Allen Cowgill

A $2,000 reward is available for information that may lead to the arrest of the suspect. Anyone with information can call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. They can remain anonymous and still receive the award. The vehicle involved in the crash has front-end damage and a missing bumper.

Sara Walter, general manager at Blue Pan Pizza at West 32nd Avenue and Perry Street, described Cordova as a caring individual.

“He really wanted to connect with every single person that he came in contact with,” Walter said. “He would always go out of his way to find out what you liked, and would always ask about it, or figure out a way where he could connect with you on that one thing.” 

Walter said that Cordova was just a cool person and coworker. She said he had a love of sneakers and watches, and could pull off wearing a crocheted shawl like no one else. He was a musician and was working on training his voice. Walter recounted that he would sing his entire shift and that you could tell where he was in the restaurant at any time by listening for his voice. 

Cordova also had a big heart, said Walter. He volunteered at a local animal shelter, hanging out with dogs. And he loved riding his scooter.

Walter and Cordova began working together during COVID. She said he had a soothing and calming speaking voice. She recalled that he connected with customers over the phone during the heart of the pandemic, when that was the primary form of communication between the restaurant and customers.

“He was such a caring person,” Walter said. “To lose him in that kind of uncaring and unfeeling way is just really brutal. To honor him and who he was as a person, I just really would like whoever is responsible to really own that. Because we really lost someone special.”

Mourners and safe streets advocates gather Dec. 7 to remember Nick Cordova. Photo by Allen Cowgill

On Dec. 7, an afternoon vigil was held at the location of the crash. Friends of Nick Cordova gathered with neighborhood residents to remember his life and ask city officials to build safer streets. The organizers of the event, Safe Streets Denver, asked that the city “urgently implement engineering changes to this stretch of the road to slow down drivers.”

Cordova was the 74th person killed in crashes on Denver streets in 2023, another near-record year for traffic fatalities in the city. He was 46.

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