Aspen man: Hit-and-run driver killed my dog |

Aspen man: Hit-and-run driver killed my dog

Lauren Glendenning
The Aspen Times
Bayless Williams and his dog Wylie.
Courtesy photo |

Bayless Williams loved his dog Wylie like a son. The dog was his buddy, his companion, his family.

Last month, Williams’ upstairs neighbor yelled out that she heard a dog’s cry — loud like a scream — outside. Williams thought it could be Wylie, a white, fluffy mixed-breed, but nothing could prepare him for what he found.

Wylie was dead, and it appeared a vehicle had run over him and that someone placed him by the dumpster after the accident.

Williams, a disabled Army veteran who walks with a cane, is 72 years old and retired. He said he worked as the Panda Peak lift operator at Buttermilk for 40 years, and before that he manned a beginner surface lift at Aspen Highlands.

He never married or had children, and as an elderly man with much less mobility than he once had, his dog meant a lot to him.

“He was my buddy, like my son,” Williams said. “He slept right next to my head. I just wasn’t ready for this.”

A woman who is the caretaker of a nearby home heard about the incident in church one Sunday from a construction worker who has been working in Williams’ neighborhood. Karen Moeller left church that day and within two hours she was knocking on Williams’ door. She felt compelled to help him any way she could.

“How could someone be so heartless?” Moeller said.

Wylie often roamed around in the vicinity of Williams’ home, but he didn’t go far. He wore a bright red vest in the winter and was hard to miss, Williams said, adding that the section of North Spring Street, near the intersection with Bay Street, narrows to just one lane and also dead ends, so there’s not much traffic through the area. The neighbors knew him and would give him treats, and in the summertime, when icy roads aren’t an issue, Williams could take him on longer walks. He also wore his collar and tags at all times.

But the phone never rang when Wylie was killed. The person who ran him over never stopped to knock on nearby doors and never looked at his tags to contact his owner.

Aspen Police Officer Chance Williams spoke to Bayless Williams about the incident on Feb. 21, but the Police Department wasn’t able to identify who hit the dog, according to police records.

Someone anonymously called a local veterinarian asking if the dog lived, according to Moeller. But no one has come forward.

“Someone had the audacity to put Wylie by the dumpster,” she said.

Moeller and Williams have become friends since the dog died. She vowed to help him through his grief and encouraged him to talk about his loss. She hopes the person who did it will come forward and apologize. Williams said he doesn’t want to be a whiner. All he wants now is closure — and maybe someday, a new dog.

“All I had was this little dog,” Williams said. “That little dog was everything to me.”

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