Angry bus rider wreaks havoc
A 22-year-old woman reportedly blew up at Roaring Fork Transit Agency personnel early Monday afternoon, and broke several windows at RFTA’s Rubey Park Transit Center before being taken away by police.
Although the woman allegedly hurled a large piece of jagged glass at a RFTA driver at one point, she was the only one injured in the incident and has not been charged with a crime.
Police said her hands were seriously cut, possibly when she knocked out several front windows of the Rubey Park facility on Durant Avenue, and had to be taken to Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment before being taken to the Pitkin County Jail.
Police Sgt. Leon Murray said there was “blood all over the place” in front of the building, and the area had to be roped off from the public while it was cleaned up by RFTA personnel.
Police have declined to release the identity of the woman, who was to be taken to a state mental hospital for evaluation Monday night.
According to witnesses and RFTA personnel, the woman had been riding a bus around Aspen for much of the day on Monday. She reportedly was well known to RFTA personnel and patrons as a frequent bus user, and has been described as occasionally exhibiting “disruptive” behavior.
“She’s ridden RFTA for years,” said Officer Ian MacAyeal. “Everybody knows who she is.”
At about 1 p.m. Monday, a bus driver reportedly spoke to her about her ridership habits. According to one RFTA employee at Rubey Park, who asked not to be identified, the woman subsequently came into the terminal building and angrily demanded a refund on her bus pass.
The staffer at the counter was in the process of writing down a telephone number the woman could call about her complaint, when the woman reportedly spotted the driver who had spoken to her.
“She became enraged,” said Sgt. Murray, quoting from police documents, and smashed in the windows of the information booth, allegedly throwing a jagged piece of glass at the driver and then breaking out several of the exterior windows of the building.
“There was glass all the way out to the curb,” Murray said.
One witness, who refused to give his name, said a group of youths started yelling encouragement to the woman, whom they apparently mistook for a man.
“I saw all these high school kids chanting this person on,” said the man in a telephone call to The Aspen Times. “They were yelling, `Go, dude, go!’ They thought it was a guy. These kids were so excited.”
He said a short time later, when he climbed on a bus, some kids on the bus were “bragging about egging her on. Something’s wrong here. We have too much violence,” he said.
Police said they did not notice any such behavior among the crowd at Rubey Park, nor did any of the RFTA personnel.
But police Officer Rob Fabrocini, one of five who hurried to Rubey Park when the call came in, urged witnesses to call him about the incident if they need to talk or have something to report.
The woman told police she is 22 years old, has lived in the valley for 11 years and is originally from Colombia. Police said she has never been arrested in Aspen before, or been involved in troublesome incidents.
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