Ex-cabbie, High Mountain Taxi sued over drunken-driving head-on collision | AspenTimes.com

Ex-cabbie, High Mountain Taxi sued over drunken-driving head-on collision

The victim of a head-on collision is suing High Mountain Taxi and an ex-cab driver who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence on Castle Creek Road the night of the crash.

Aspen resident Kenneth Dahlberg was behind the wheel of a 2011 Toyota Sienna and driving for High Mountain Taxi when the vehicle spun out of control and collided with a 2013 Jeep Wrangler, according to a police report and the victim’s lawsuit.

After impact, the Sienna spun clockwise and slid 67 feet before coming to a final rest, positioned upright, on the west shoulder of the road, the suit said. The Jeep, driven by a Garfield County resident, slid 25 feet, finishing upright on the road’s east shoulder. 

The Jeep driver and Dahlberg were both hospitalized with injuries, The Aspen Times reported in March 2021. Dahlberg suffered serious injuries, and the woman’s injuries were moderate, the story said. 

Both the victim and Dahlberg did not respond to messages, and Matt Cook, owner of High Mountain Taxi, declined comment when reached Wednesday. Dahlberg has not worked for High Mountain Taxi since the collision.

The lawsuit is an attempt to hold him and High Mountain financially responsible for the crash. Dahlberg was under the influence of alcohol when he lost control of the cab, and High Mountain failed to “train its employees and or agents, including but not limited to Defendant Dahlberg, to drive their vehicle on behalf of High Mountain Taxi carefully and reasonably without being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both,” the suit alleged.

According to a report from a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy who responded to the scene, the airbag was activated in Dahlberg’s cab, he smelt of alcohol, and he had a “serious laceration” to his head.  The road was “completely covered with packed snow and ice,” the report said. 

The driver of the Jeep said she couldn’t avoid the taxi minivan when it “came around the curve driving way too fast towards her.” The woman told the deputy that her bloody lip was the extent of her injuries, according to the report.

The deputy was among the first responders to the crash, and Colorado State Patrol handled the investigation and ticketed Dahlberg for driving under the influence.  

He pleaded guilty to DUI that April and was sentenced in May to 48 hours of community service and eight months of probation, according to Pitkin County Court records.

Denver law firm Wahlberg, Woodruff, Nimmo & Sloane LLP filed the suit Feb. 21 in Pitkin County District Court.

Dahlberg faces civil claims of negligence and negligence per se. High Mountain Taxi faces three claims — negligence, negligence per se, and a single claim that covers negligent hiring, negligent retention, and negligent entrustment.

The suit demands a jury trial and seeks a judgment for “money damages, for pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, disfigurement, permanent injury, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, economic losses, non-economic losses, physical impairment, past, and future medical expenses, pre-judgment interest from the date of the incident, post-judgment interest, costs, fees, and further relief.”