Aspen police: bus driver swerved into bicyclist after flipping off motorist
August 4, 2009
ASPEN – Aspen police arrested a public bus driver Sunday night after he allegedly flipped off a motorist and had a close brush with a bicyclist.
Richard Dale Langston, 45, was cited for reckless driving and a misdemeanor charge of third-degree assault, said Aspen police Sgt. Chip Seamans.
Seamans said Langston was driving a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus downvalley sometime after 6 p.m. As it pulled out of the bus stop at Highway 82 and Eighth Street, the driver apparently got surly with a motorist, who had honked at the bus for cutting it off, Seamans said.
At that point, Langston allegedly gave the motorist the one-finger salute; then, when a bicyclist on the right of the bus raised his arms in protest, the driver swerved toward the bicyclist and had slight contact with him, slightly injuring the cyclist’s elbow, Seamans said. The bicyclist was not hospitalized, and never fell to the ground as a result of the encounter.
Police were notified by a bus passenger, who called 911, Seamans said. They later arrested Langston at Rubey Park Transit Center, Aspen’s downtown bus terminal. Langston was cooperative at the time of the arrest, Seamans said.
Langston’s phone number is not listed, and he could not be reached Monday.
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RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship said he learned of the alleged transgression Monday morning. He said he was not aware what, if any, disciplinary actions will take place.
“At this time it is a personnel matter, and we are investigating it,” he said. “The allegations are very serious.”
This was not Langston’s first run-in with the law. According to an April 16, 1991, report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he was sentenced to six months in jail for trying to electrocute his boss.
Langston, who was a school janitor at the time of the incident, was originally charged with attempted murder. As part of plea agreement, the charge was reduced to second-degree assault.