ASPEN - An Aspen man faces harassment and disorderly-conduct charges after he allegedly broke the window of a city parking-enforcement vehicle and pushed a parking officer, police said.
Leandro Vincent Contreras, 36, was booked and released from Pitkin County Jail on Friday, hours after the alleged incident, which happened outside of the parking garage at Obermeyer Place in Aspen.
Witnesses told police that Contreras, apparently angry that a warning sticker had been placed on his vehicle, took out his frustration on parking officer Donald Karrer, Aspen Police Officer Rick Magnuson said.
Magnuson said that police believe Contreras removed the sticker and slammed it on the windshield of a "gopher" vehicle, which the city's parking officers use to monitor parking activities throughout Aspen. The impact broke the glass, prompting Karrer, 65, to get out of the vehicle.
"At some point it became physical," Magnuson said, "and Donnie claims he was shaken and pushed to the ground."
It also appears that Contreras' alleged angst was misguided. That's because Karrer did not place the warning sticker on his vehicle. Instead, Obermeyer building officials put the notice on Contrera's vehicle because it was illegally parked in the complex's parking garage, Magnuson said.
When Karrer drove out of the parking garage, he spotted Karrer, who happened to be patrolling city-regulated parking spots, Magnuson said.
Karrer was not hurt, Magnuson said. Contreras could not be reached for comment Friday. Magnuson said he will have to appear in Pitkin County Court to answer both misdemeanor charges.
Parking officers are no strangers to confrontations with motorists, but Friday's incident wasn't commonplace.
"Very rarely does it turn into something like this," said Blake Fitch, the city's parking operations manager. "I'm just glad he's OK."