Aspen officer hit motorcyclist " not the other way around
August 13, 2008
ASPEN ” Witnesses said the motorcyclist hit the law, but the motorcyclist said the law hit him. According to the Colorado State Patrol, he was right.
On Monday, community safety officer Melissa Clare was making a left onto Main Street from Monarch when her vehicle collided with longtime Aspen local M.J. Elisha on his Triumph motorcycle. Elisha, 67, was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, where he got six stitches on his head and was treated for bruises on his hip, leg and temple, but was otherwise OK.
Following a Colorado State Patrol investigation, Clare was issued a one-point ticket ” the same that anyone would get for failing to yield, according to Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn. “The important stuff is that everybody is largely OK,” Linn said.
Clare was very upset about the incident, Linn said, but relieved that Elisha wasn’t seriously injured.
“We drive a lot of miles in our line of work, and accidents really aren’t unavoidable but part of the expectation of the miles we log,” Linn said.
On Tuesday, however, Elisha was upset by witness reports claiming that he was at fault.
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“I got run into,” Elisha said. “The side of my motorcycle got crushed in.” Just before the collision, another driver was making a left from Main Street onto Monarch and became “trapped” when the light turned red, Elisha said.
One witness claimed that Elisha had also been on Main Street and had made a left against a red light before colliding with Clare.
But Elisha said that he and Clare were on opposite sides of Main Street, and when the other driver made a left turn, both he and Clare hit the gas and collided.
“I had the right of way. It’s a cut-and-dry no contest,” Elisha said. “She just lost sight of what was on her left.” Elisha said Clare was immediately apologetic and helpful.
“She was out of that car in a flash and did a marvelous job of assisting me,” Elisha said.
A lifetime local and longtime motorcycle rider, Elisha said he was lucky. His bike might be “totally ruined,” but he’s lived and enjoyed a long motorcycle-riding career with few incidents.
“She just didn’t see me,” Elisha said. “It can happen.”
Elisha said he is surprised that no one from the Aspen Police Department has come forward to apologize.