Floridians learn Pass not passable | AspenTimes.com

Floridians learn Pass not passable

Independence Pass won’t open to vehicle traffic until next weekend – a fact a Florida family learned the hard way on Tuesday.

According to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office report, a motorcyclist on a large Yamaha touring bike cut the chain to the closure gate on Highway 82 east of Aspen sometime on Tuesday. Police searched for the motorcyclist, who was last seen heading back into Aspen after taking a ride up the Pass. The suspect was never found.

In the meantime, though, police learned a silver sport utility vehicle had been seen passing through the open closure gate.

A deputy was sent to the gate and, after replacing the broken lock, continued up the Pass in search of the car that had driven through.

At mile marker 60, the deputy spotted a silver Suzuki with Florida plates heading back down toward Aspen. The driver told the sheriff’s deputy that he “didn’t understand why one gate was open and the other side was closed”; he had apparently made it over to the Twin Lakes side of the Pass only to find those gates closed.

The man, who was traveling with his wife and 5-year-old child, said they didn’t see the signs that indicated that the Pass was closed as they were “looking at the mountains.”

The deputy followed the family back down to Aspen, letting them through the gate and locking it behind them.

Independence Pass officially opens next Friday afternoon. To see the Pass before it opens to vehicle traffic – and without cutting the lock – bicycles can join in the 10th annual Ride for the Pass. The event is tomorrow and benefits the Independence Pass Foundation’s efforts to stabilize and revegetate roadsides on the Pass that have been damaged by erosion.

Riders of all abilities can register for the ride in person today at the Ute Mountaineer, 308 S. Mill St., or at Aspen Velo, 465 N. Mill St., in Aspen, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The cost is $30 for individuals and $60 for families.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User