Bear spray on Maroon Bells bus blasts passengers |

Bear spray on Maroon Bells bus blasts passengers

Staff report

A tourist accidentally triggered a can of bear spray inside a public bus heading to the Maroon Bells on Sunday morning, a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy said Wednesday.

The incident occurred around 10:20 a.m. about a mile from the parking lot at Maroon Lake when the college-aged woman leaned on her backpack and released the capsaicin pepper spray near the back of the bus, Deputy Anthony Todaro said.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority initially reported that 40 people were exposed to the spray, which triggered a large response from fire and police agencies, Todaro said. However, when emergency responders arrived on scene they discovered just two people were heavily exposed to the substance, including the woman who triggered it, he said.

The bus was allowed to air out, then continued on to the lake, he said. RFTA sent another bus to take some passengers who decided against making the trip to the lake back to town, while Todaro gave the woman who sprayed the substance and her two friends a ride to Maroon Lake after she’d recovered, he said.

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