Lawsuit filed over 2013 fatal collision on Aspen Mountain
September 12, 2014
The estate of a Pennsylvania woman who was killed in February 2013 when another skier collided with her on Aspen Mountain has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Pitkin County District Court.
The plaintiff is listed as Julie Graham, representative of the estate of Natalie Egleston, a 48-year-old marketing executive who died on Feb. 4, 2013, on Spar Gulch. The suit was filed late Wednesday afternoon by the law firm Pickard & Ross P.C., of Littleton. It seeks a jury trial, the awarding of damages and other forms of compensation.
The defendant is Dr. Virginia L. Chen, a New York City dermatologist, who was 53 at the time of the incident. In newspaper accounts of the incident, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said it appeared Egleston may have stopped on the slopes to clean her goggles when the other woman, later identified as Chen, slammed into her.
Both skiers were wearing helmets when the collision occurred. Egleston was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital where she died of a traumatic brain injury. She also suffered cracked ribs. Chen, meanwhile, sustained minor injuries.
According to the suit, Egleston stopped on the far edge of the Spar Catwalk to wait for her boyfriend. Chen was skiing "wildly and out of control down the hill, ignoring the 'slow' signs posted," when she hit Egleston, the suit says.
Witnesses said that Chen was skiing "at a high rate of speed" as she came down the hill and crashed into Egleston, the suit says.
"As the person skiing downhill, defendant Virginia Chen had the primary duty to avoid collision with any person or object below her," the suit adds, citing the Colorado Skier Safety Act.
Egleston's death was caused by Chen's "negligent, careless and reckless actions or inactions," the suit says.
Nearly one month after the accident, 9th Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against Chen.
Joe Pickard, the attorney who filed the suit on behalf of Egleston's estate, declined comment when reached by phone on Thursday. Chen could not immediately be reached for comment; her office's phone mailbox was full Thursday afternoon.