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Aspen man urges drivers to slow down after loss of dog

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times
Jessie's death was caused by an impatient driver, owner Michael David Cook said.
Courtesy photo |

An Aspen resident is urging motorists to slow down and pay attention after his dog was struck and killed by what he called an impatient driver.

Michael David Cook said that at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday, his wife, Alie, and daughter, Cali, were walking through a crosswalk with their two Labradors at Gibson Avenue and Walnut Street. According to Cook, a woman driving a blue Porsche Cayenne stopped for the first dog as well as Alie and Cali but failed to make sure the second dog, Jessie, had crossed. Jessie, a 13-year-old lab who was not on a leash, was clipped and then run over by a rear tire.

A report written by Aspen Police Officer Chance Williams says several people helped load the dog into the back of a vehicle. She was transported to an emergency veterinarian in Basalt but died before arriving.

“(The driver) said that she saw the family and one of the dogs walk across the crosswalk,” the report states. “She said she felt a thud at one of her rear tires and got out.”

No fines or citations were issued in the incident.

Williams informed Cook that the woman was “apologetic” and “remorseful,” Cook said. The woman also reached out to the Cooks via Facebook to help with any veterinarian bills, but when they let her know Jessie had died, communication broke off.

“We haven’t heard back from her since, and I quite honestly didn’t expect to. What do you say at that point?” Cook said, adding that unfortunately, the incident can’t be taken back. Cook wrote a guest commentary about the incident; it appears on page A10 of today’s paper.

“I see it every day,” Cook said. “I see people taking liberties on crosswalks. People are always in a hurry and going through the West End to take a shortcut or rolling a stop sign just so they can get to their hike up Smuggler. It’s a growing frustration that you kind of put up with until they take a family member, and then it becomes a whole different story.”

Cook said his understanding of the law is that the state of Colorado claims a dog as personal property.

“There’s no liability. There’s no incentive. There’s no points taken off your license. There’s no tickets. There’s no fines,” he said. “Hopefully you feel bad, and hopefully you don’t do it again. And hopefully when you come to a stop sign, and people are crossing, that you take the time to notice exactly who’s crossing and when they’re done crossing.”

He said what worries him and Alie is the thought that it could’ve been their daughter. Cook acknowledged that Jessie was not on a leash, but he said it wouldn’t have made a difference if she was leashed, because Alie said the driver proceeded just after the first three had cleared the bumper.

“My wife was 6 inches from her bumper when she proceeded through the intersection,” he said.

herk@aspentimes.com


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