Aspen officer hit motorcyclist " not the other way around | AspenTimes.com

Aspen officer hit motorcyclist " not the other way around

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Witnesses said the motorcyclist hit the law, but the motorcyclist said the law hit him. According to the Col­orado State Patrol, he was right.

On Monday, community safety offi­cer Melissa Clare was making a left onto Main Street from Monarch when her vehicle collided with longtime Aspen local M.J. Elisha on his Tri­umph motorcycle. Elisha, 67, was taken to Aspen Val­ley Hospital, where he got six stitches on his head and was treated for bruis­es on his hip, leg and temple, but was otherwise OK.

Following a Colorado State Patrol investigation, Clare was issued a one-­point ticket ” the same that anyone would get for failing to yield, accord­ing to Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn. “The important stuff is that every­body is largely OK,” Linn said.

Clare was very upset about the inci­dent, Linn said, but relieved that Elisha wasn’t seriously injured.

“We drive a lot of miles in our line of work, and accidents really aren’t unavoidable but part of the expecta­tion of the miles we log,” Linn said.

On Tuesday, however, Elisha was upset by witness reports claiming that he was at fault.

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“I got run into,” Elisha said. “The side of my motorcycle got crushed in.” Just before the collision, another driver was making a left from Main Street onto Monarch and became “trapped” when the light turned red, Elisha said.

One witness claimed that Elisha had also been on Main Street and had made a left against a red light before colliding with Clare.

But Elisha said that he and Clare were on opposite sides of Main Street, and when the other driver made a left turn, both he and Clare hit the gas and collided.

“I had the right of way. It’s a cut-­and-dry no contest,” Elisha said. “She just lost sight of what was on her left.” Elisha said Clare was immediately apologetic and helpful.

“She was out of that car in a flash and did a marvelous job of assisting me,” Elisha said.

A lifetime local and longtime motorcycle rider, Elisha said he was lucky. His bike might be “totally ruined,” but he’s lived and enjoyed a long motorcycle-riding career with few incidents.

“She just didn’t see me,” Elisha said. “It can happen.”

Elisha said he is surprised that no one from the Aspen Police Depart­ment has come forward to apologize.

cagar@aspentimes.com

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