Aspen Highlands chairlift pusher asks to live with parents |

Aspen Highlands chairlift pusher asks to live with parents

Thomas Proesel

The former Aspen resident charged with throwing a man off a chairlift at Aspen Highlands this winter is ready to be discharged from a psychiatric facility and wants a judge to allow him to live with his parents outside Chicago, according to court documents.

Thomas Proesel, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of attempted first-degree assault, was admitted to the residential treatment facility in Tennessee on Feb. 13. Doctors there have decided he is ready to be discharged to a community setting, according to a motion filed Wednesday by his lawyer.

“Mr. Proesel has successfully engaged in treatment … participating in individual therapy, medication management, group therapy and recreations activities and outings,” according to a letter from two members of his treatment team, “and it is with great pleasure that we recommend him for discharge.”

Prosel, 32, should have individual therapy once a week and medication management once a month, according to the letter.

Proesel, through his lawyer, wants Aspen District Judge Chris Seldin to modify his bond conditions to allow him to be discharged from the Tennessee facility and travel to his parents’ home in Winnetka, Illinois, where he would live, the motion states. He would be treated once a week on an outpatient basis by a Chicago-based psychiatrist, who would immediately report to the court any failure to take his medications or participate in treatment, according to the motion.

Seldin is scheduled to address the motion Monday in court.

Meanwhile, Proesel traveled with his father to the psychiatric hospital at Fort Logan in Denver on May 15 to be examined by a state psychiatrist because of the insanity plea, according to court documents. He was examined May 17.

Seldin approved that travel at a hearing in April, when Proesel appeared by video link from the Tennessee facility.

Proesel is originally from the Chicago area but lived in Aspen since at least 2012, according to property records.

He threw the 28-year-old snowboarder off the Loge Peak lift at Aspen Highlands about 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 17 after the snowboarder made an innocuous comment about skiers being better able to get face shots of powder than snowboarders. The snowboarder fell 20 to 25 feet, but landed in a pile of fresh snow and was not injured.

The incident occurred near the top of the lift, and Proesel was able to ski away after tossing the snowboarder despite the fact that a lift operator stopped the chair. Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies were able to track him down using video footage from another lift and information from a scanner that read Proesel’s ski pass before he got on the lift.

After he was taken into custody, Proesel told deputies he became scared of the snowboarder on the lift and thought the snowboarder wanted to hurt him, according to police reports. He later made comments about numerous conspiracies, the mob, terrorists, Mexicans and about his fear of being in public, the reports state.

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