Aspen man loses life in tragic motorcycle accident
Aspen resident Stephan Elk died on Sunday after he collided with a minivan while riding his motorcycle outside of Buena Vista with a group of local men.
He was 67.
“It’s horrific and unbelievable,” said Susie Elk, who has been married to Stephan for 31 years. “He was a great guy who loved Aspen and was a pronounced figure here.”
Rob Fabrocini, who is an Aspen Police sergeant, was with Elk when he crashed on Route 24.
Elk collided head-on with a family in a minivan about seven miles from the turnoff to Twin Lakes.
Fabrocini said there were no signs of Elk having difficulty maneuvering his bike leading up to the accident.
“It’s possible that he was unconscious and was at peace before the accident happened,” he said.
Aspen resident Andrew Sandler, who also was on the Sunday afternoon ride and described Elk as an excellent rider, surmised that he must have lost his faculties as he negotiated a turn on the road.
Susie said her husband had been suffering from a bacterial infection in his leg for more than a month and was planning to go back to the hospital for additional treatment this week.
“We don’t really know what happened,” she said. “God just grabbed him.”
The accident occurred about two car lengths in front of Fabrocini, who administered CPR on the scene for more than 45 minutes.
The family in the van had no injuries.
Sandler, who had ridden ahead of the group, turned around and tried to help on scene as well, he said.
“He had to have passed out, or stroked out,” Sandler said. “This had to be a medical issue.”
Stephan and Susie, who split their time between here and Florida, fell in love with Aspen years ago.
They have two children, son Max, 29, and daughter Sammi, 30.
“He was very warm and funny, and a great husband and a great father,” Susie said. “It’s a huge loss.”
Stephan was a regular fixture in Aspen, hanging out downtown with his Dobermann Pinscher, Kaiya, or riding his horse, Chip along Government Trail.
“He was a guy’s guy … a really cool guy,” Susie said. “He just reached out and touched everybody. He was a real wonderful man.”
Sandler also described his friend as a “guy’s guy.”
“If it was horseback riding, skiing or riding bikes, he was there,” he said. “He went out doing exactly what he wanted to do.”
Fabrocini said Elk was a charming guy who had a sparkle in his eye.
“He would walk into a bar and there would be a group around him right away,” he said. “If you had a problem, he was the guy you wanted to talk to.”
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Aug. 2 at 11 a.m. at Aspen Chapel, followed by a reception at Scarlett’s restaurant on Hopkins Avenue.