Langley family of Aspen sues over Castle Creek Crash
The Aspen Times
The parents of Aspen teen Mackenzie Langley, who was crippled from a vehicle crash on Castle Creek Road in June, are suing the driver and her parents in Pitkin County District Court.
Robert and Darnell Langley’s complaint accuses the driver of negligence and holds her parents, Ronald and Karen Schaftel, liable for the wreck. Boulder attorney Robert Hoover filed the suit Friday. It was made public Monday.
Mackeznie, who turned 17 in February, continues to undergo medical treatment at Craig Hospital, her father said.
“February and March were as brutal as anything we’ve been through,” Robert Langley said. “She had four surgeries in February and March, and she’s working hard to walk again.”
The parents continue to keep a home in Aspen but also are renting a home in Englewood, about a five-minute drive from Craig Hospital, Robert Langley said. Mackenzie Langley would have been a junior this year at Aspen High School, and she remains focused on graduating on time, Robert Langley said.
“She’s been working with the high school administration (in Englewood) so we can keep her on track to graduate with her senior class (in Aspen) next year,” he said.
The father declined to discuss the suit, but Hoover said its filing “is part of the process in a case like this. We’re doing our best to help Mackenzie. It’s a tragedy for both of these families, and it’s hard to put into words.”
The Schaftel family did not respond to a telephone message Monday.
Langley was a passenger in an SUV that rolled over and crashed in the early-morning hours of June 23 on Castle Creek Road near the Aspen Music Festival and School campus. The driver and another passenger were wearing seat belts and suffered minor injuries, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Langley wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was partially ejected from the rear seat of the 2013 Range Rover.
The Colorado State Patrol ticketed the driver for careless driving causing injury and violating curfew.
“She was not charged with any kind of alcohol involvement, and the Colorado State Patrol is very aggressive with that,” Hoover said.
While the driver and her parents are being sued, Hoover said he expects their automobile-insurance carrier to appoint counsel for the case.
“I’m hopeful we’ll be able to do our best and get his matter resolved,” he said.
Medical bills have mounted since the crash, with numerous fundraisers being held in the Aspen area.
The suit says Mackenzie Langley “suffered catastrophic and permanent injuries, including but not limited to multiple skull fractures, a jaw fracture, a partially severed carotid artery, multiple spinal fractures, facial paralysis, lower body paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, hearing loss and vision loss.”
The suit asks the court to order the defendants to pay for medical and other expenses as well as Mackenzie Langley’s loss or future earnings. It holds the driver’s parents responsible because they signed an affidavit of liability when she obtained a driver’s license and also because she used her parents’ vehicle with their permission.
The suit doesn’t specify an amount in damages, and Hoover declined to discuss how much money the family is seeking.
Robert Langley said his daughter can walk with the aid of a machine.
“She’s working hard,” he said. “She’s committed to get healthy, and it’s a long, long, long road.”
Mackenzie Langley is one of five siblings. Her younger brother, who is in seventh grade, is attending school in Englewood. Her three older siblings have graduated from high school. One attends college, one works in Dallas, and the third didn’t return to college so he could help the family, Robert Langley said.
On Monday night, the City Council listened to ideas for each old building. However, nothing laid out what the community space would actually entail — only aspirations and gathered community comment.