Aspen sees surge of hit-and-runs with parked vehicles
For all of the reasons not to drive into Aspen — traffic congestion, lack of parking, cyclists and pedestrians at every turn — the potential for being a victim of a hit-and-run is not one of them.
That was until Tuesday, when the city of Aspen issued a press release stating there were eight hit-and-runs reported over two days this month.
“The reason for that press release was just the volume and frequency are astounding, and frankly disappointing,” said Ginna Gordon, Aspen Police Department’s community response supervisor.
The incidents occurred from July 13-14. Nearly every case involved unoccupied, parked vehicles, Gordon said. Nobody was injured. Since July 15, three more hit-and-runs were reported to police.
Another reason to get out the word, Gordon said, is because people can aid in finding the suspects.
“If people witness an accident, one way people can be empowered is to use the telephone camera,” she said.
None of the recent hit-and-runs were in the vicinity of video surveillance, Gordon said.
The incidents occurred in both commercial and residential areas within Aspen city limits, and none of them took place on the polarizing three-block stretch of Galena Street and Cooper Avenue known as the living lab, according to Gordon.
“Most of them were involving property damage to the vehicles,” Gordon said, noting one of the incidents actually involved a vehicle and scooter.
“Some of the details on that one were strange,” she said. “That one was a close call as to whether it was a collision.”
The vehicle-versus-scooter was included among the eight incidents reported to APD.
A hit-and-run causing property damage is a misdemeanor traffic offense. Motorists who hit an unattended vehicle are required by law to locate or contact the damaged vehicle’s owner about the accident. Otherwise, the owner of the struck vehicle can’t file a claim with the responsible party’s auto insurer.
The APD’s press release said: “If a traffic accident occurs, Aspen Police advise the involved parties to immediately report the accident to law enforcement, as well as exchange contact information (name, address, and phone number), vehicle registration numbers, and insurance information. Drivers should remain at the scene until authorities arrive.”
“The responsible party is essentially leaving the victim with the bill, when the victim didn’t do anything wrong,” Gordon said.
Across the Roaring Fork School District, three schools achieved higher ratings from 2019 to 2022, two schools had lower ratings during that time period and most remained the same.