Downtown Aspen wanderer pleads no contest to several charges
ASPEN – A city judge ordered Ryan Olsen to play by Aspen’s pedestrian-traffic rules as part of a deferred sentence handed down Wednesday.Olsen, 35, appeared in Municipal Court where he pleaded no contest to failure to obey a traffic-control device as a pedestrian, sleeping in a place where prohibited, and resisting arrest or interfering with a police officer. As part of a plea deal, city prosecutor Jim True dropped a second count of failure to obey a traffic-control device as a pedestrian, along with a trespassing charge. Olsen also met later in the morning with a counselor at Pitkin County Health & Human Services as part of the agreement, which was attended by Aspen Police Officer Chip Seamans. Olsen, who lives outside of Glenwood Springs, has held a steady presence in Aspen’s downtown streets of late, often treading close to walking in the middle of traffic. Police regularly receive calls from motorists and others concerned about his safety and his potential threat to incoming traffic. Likewise, Judge Brooke Peterson said he’s worried that Olsen may unwittingly be compromising public safety. “What I don’t want to see is how you make it to and from places to become a hazard to other people … and of equal importance, to yourself,” he said. Peterson told Olsen to steer clear of traffic by not walking in the middle of the streets by using pedestrian crosswalks and corner crossings. The transient also has been ticketed for sleeping in the lobby of a downtown lodge, and being combative with police who have responded to complaints about him.”I don’t have a lot of money to stay at the hotel,” he told the judge. Olsen was supposed to appear in court May 25 to answer the same charges, which were levied against him last month, but was being held in Glenwood Springs jail for another incident. The next day he met with True to explain his no-show, and a bench warrant, which had been issued for his arrest May 25, was quashed. At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Peterson told Olsen he faced jail sentences up to one year for his infractions. But because he was given a one-year deferred sentence, Olsen does not face time behind bars for the no-contest pleas. Local officials appear to be more concerned about getting him help, but have limited means to achieve that. “I do not [want] to go to jail,” Olsen told Peterson, who gave him 30 days to pay a $35 fine connected to the plea deal. “I do not [want] to be with people like that.”Olsen, who lives on a disability stipend, said he’s trying to obtain housing in Pitkin County because he likes the mountain air. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Aspen teachers and school officials have come to an agreement regarding reopening in-person education Monday.