Man disputes account of fight with Hell’s Angels
December 4, 2005
A man whose jaw was broken in a bar fight with some Hell’s Angels in Carbondale says he did not provoke the fight, and he wants the Carbondale Police Department to investigate the matter.The man, Kevin Hilgeford of Glenwood Springs, said on Sunday that a story in The Aspen Times on Dec. 2 was erroneous, and that he was the victim of “a jumping” rather than the instigator of a barroom brawl.The fight took place at shortly before midnight on Nov. 19, at a benefit punk-rock show that reportedly was meant to raise money to pay some legal bills for a man named Shiloh. Shiloh also reportedly has been considered for membership in the Colorado chapter of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club, and some club members had come to Carbondale to observe the benefit, a witness said.Hilgeford, 36, said he was in the Black Nugget Saloon twice that night, once around 9 p.m. when Peppino’s Pizza owner Kurt Trede delivered some pizzas to the bar, and again about 11 p.m. Trede also was reported to have been injured in the fight with the Angels but declined to talk about the matter with The Aspen Times.Hilgeford insisted that he was not taunting or baiting the Angels, as has been reported, and that the only time he talked with one of the Angels was to ask a question, early in the evening, about some club memorabilia he said was being sold from a table in the bar.After entering the bar about 11 p.m., Hilgeford said, he “had a couple of beers” with some friends and suddenly was accosted by a man he did not know, whom Hilgeford identified as a Hell’s Angel.”All I can remember is somebody yelling at me … he came up and was yelling at me … he said, ‘You think this is funny?'” Hilgeford recalled.”I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ Then he took the first swing, and missed,” Helgeford continued.The two men went down to the floor together, Hilgeford said, and the next thing he knew several men were “kicking the shit out of me … seven of ’em jumped on top of me … it could have killed me.”In the moments before the opening punch, he conceded, “there was one or two comments, derogatory, made about the Angels,” from somewhere within the group of people he was standing with.Another fight, between two women, broke out at some point during the assault, Hilgeford said.The kicking, he said, lasted only a short time, and during a lull he was able to get up and head outside, where he met two Carbondale police officers who asked him if he wanted to press charges against anyone.”I said yes,” he recalled, then walked across Main Street to clamber into a waiting ambulance, which took him to Valley View Hospital for four hours of surgery on his broken jaw. He also received two broken ribs in the incident, he said.Hilgeford was told later that the officers “didn’t even go in there for 45 minutes to see who was in there … they kept calling for backup.” He said friends told him that backup was slow in coming, and that police never did get the names of the Hell’s Angels in the bar that night.He said that as soon as he is able to talk clearly, he will be calling Carbondale police to demand that they investigate the matter, and that he would like to see charges pressed against those who beat him.But, he added, “I think this is something that’s never going to be solved” because, he maintains, when the officers “heard it was Hell’s Angels, they were scared to death.”Regarding the performance of the officers, he said, “I would say it’s a huge failure to protect.”Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling, who said last week that his department was not investigating the incident, was not available for comment on Sunday.