Air Force employee from Arkansas charged in Snowmass assault
Snowmass Village police charged an employee of the U.S. Air Force from Arkansas with felony assault Tuesday for allegedly attacking a man he argued with on the bus this fall, according to a police report.
The attack caused serious bodily injury, according to a doctor, in the form of four fractures to the victim’s face, the report states.
Jonah Woods, 43, traveled from Arkansas and turned himself in Tuesday at the Pitkin County Jail at his local lawyer’s direction, Snowmass Village Police Chief Brian Olson said. In addition to the second-degree assault charge, Woods faces a misdemeanor count of menacing.
According to a post on the Little Rock Air Force Base website, Woods is an air space manager and air traffic controller, and in August 2016 was named “airlifter of the week.”
According to the Snowmass Village police report, the victim, a 27-year-old from Golden, told police he and his friend attended a concert Oct. 21 at Belly Up in Aspen and rode a bus back to the Snowmass Village condo where they were staying. On the way, they “got into a verbal argument with a group of older men, probably in their 30s-40s,” the report states.
Woods later told police he “had a dialogue with an individual on the bus returning from Aspen that didn’t end well.”
“Woods said the conversation ended with the other party making a threatening statement that involved ‘old guys dying of cancer’ and ‘you’ll die some way,’” according to the report.
As the groups parted at the Snowmass Village bus stop just after 2 a.m. Oct. 22, they exchanged profane comments, the victim said.
Woods and his two friends retrieved what turned out to be a Chevrolet Silverado truck with government license plates from the bus stop parking lot, while the victim and his friend walked up the hill toward the Timberline Condominium complex where they were staying.
Before they arrived, however, the truck pulled up and two men got out of the back of the truck and another from the front, while the driver remained inside, the victim said. His friend told police the man who exited the passenger front seat — later identified as Woods — went directly up to the victim and said, “We gave you a chance to shut the f— up.”
“(The friend) recalled (the victim) voicing regret and apologizing while he pleaded for the subjects to ‘just let it go,’” according to the report.
Another man then exited the truck and Woods punched the victim, his friend said. The victim reported he was “cold-cocked” and “blind-sided” and fell to the ground, then was pinned down, grabbed by the hair and kicked by two men. When he tried to get up as the men were on their way back to the truck, he was attacked again and told to stay on the ground.
The victim’s friend said the man who exited the truck second pushed him uphill as Woods attacked his friend, while the Silverado driver pleaded with Woods to leave. The second man “went after” the victim as well, pinning him to the ground and yelling at him, though he did not punch him, the victim’s friend said.
Woods then came at the victim’s friend “with a closed fist,” but the driver yelled that he had “nothing to do with it, leave him alone and get back in the truck,” and Woods complied.
Woods’ recollection was a bit different.
He told police “he still felt threatened so they stopped the truck and he and (another man with him) got out,” according to the police report. Woods said the victim pushed him, so he pushed him back, causing him to fall to the ground, and Woods’ friend prevented the victim from getting up.
The victim stayed on the ground, as instructed, until the men left, and the two walked to their condo.
The next morning, as the victim and his friend were leaving, they “recognized the truck parked next to them was the same as the previous night,” and took a picture of the U.S. government license plate, which they forwarded to police.
Snowmass Village police later learned from a front desk employee that several Air Force personnel from Arkansas had stayed at the Timberline for a week and that the last unit of three people checked out the morning of Oct. 22. The last to check out was “the Air Force coordinator, Jonah Woods,” the employee said.
“Woods visits the Timberline twice annually for training and they have become acquainted through this contact,” the employee told police.
The victim was later found to have four fractures on the left side of his face and reported that he would need minor surgery to fix the injury.
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