Local journalist arrested for DUI
ASPEN – Former Aspen Daily News editor Troy Hooper was arrested in the early morning hours of Sept. 10 on suspicion of driving under the influence.
According to a police report, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Levi Borst pulled over Hooper, who now writes for the news website realaspen.com, in a downvalley-bound lane of Highway 82 near Pitkin Iron. Hooper, 35, of Carbondale, had been allegedly weaving and driving 75 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone.
At 3:50 a.m., nearly an hour after he was pulled over, a breath test revealed Hooper’s blood-alcohol content to be 0.124, according to sheriff’s records. State law prohibits those with a 0.08 blood-alcohol content or above from driving.
The arrest marked the fifth time Hooper has been pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving in the state of Colorado in the past 14 years, according to public records. But he has just one drinking and driving-related conviction – that came in October 1996, after he pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired (DWAI) in Boulder County.
Before last week’s arrest, his most recent transgression came on Sept. 20, 2009, when he was arrested for DUI in Delta County; the case was dismissed on Feb. 17, 2010, records show.
Two days after the case was dismissed, on Feb. 19, 2010, Hooper was given a ride to a friend’s Aspen house by then-Aspen police officer Valerie McFarlane. Hooper was suspended from his editor’s position at the Daily News on March 17 after it came to light that he implied – in a conversation recorded in the patrol vehicle – that he would give McFarlane more favorable treatment in the newspaper in exchange for not charging him on suspicion of drunken driving. Hooper maintains he did not face a DUI the morning in question.
McFarlane subsequently resigned, and Hooper was let go from the Daily News in early April.
On Wednesday, Hooper said the local media’s coverage of the McFarlane incident was unfair, inaccurate, biased and blown out of proportion. He acknowledged that he has been arrested for allegedly getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
“I’ve certainly had some drinking and driving-related arrests in the past, and I’ve been exonerated in all but one of them [the DWAI conviction],” he said. “The bottom line is I realize I have a problem with drinking and I’m focusing on that.”
The narrative for Hooper’s latest arrest, prepared by Deputy Borst, says that as Hooper was transported to the Pitkin County jail, he said, “‘I mean, [do] you know who I am?’ Hooper then began asking if I would call Sheriff [Bob] Braudis for him. I told him that I would not. Hooper also asked if I would contact Undersheriff Joe DiSalvo for him. I declined. Hooper asked if there was any way out of this, and lastly ‘Can you just drop me off at a friends [sic] house?'”
In Wednesday’s interview, Hooper said he was simply trying to contact Braudis and DiSalvo because they have common lawyer friends. He also said he was trying to contact them “because I wasn’t sure how this process works.”
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