News briefs

Staff Report

Spring fuel spill did not contaminate groundwater

A fuel spill in the Old Snowmass area caused when a tanker truck overturned this spring has been cleaned up and no evidence of groundwater contamination has been found, the county’s environmental health director said Tuesday.

Initially, tests on the irrigation ditch next to Capitol Creek Road indicated that groundwater in the area was contaminated, Director Kurt Dahl said. However, samples taken in August found no contamination, and Dahl said he anticipates that samples taken last week will turn up the same thing.

“Fortunately we don’t have contamination of groundwater,” Dahl said.

The fuel tanker operated by Roaring Fork Valley Co-op was carrying 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel and 1,000 gallons of gasoline while traveling upvalley on Capitol Creek Road to make a delivery April 30. The 65-year-old driver became distracted while looking at a map or trying to retrieve information when the wheels of the truck dropped off the right side of the road and it overturned onto its roof.

The truck spilled 518 gallons of gasoline and 23 gallons of diesel fuel into the ditch, located 1½ miles from the spot where East Sopris Creek/Capitol Creek Road comes to a T-intersection with Snowmass Creek Road. The spill was near the Little Elk Creek subdivision.

The area has been revegetated and the ditch redug, Dahl said.

Woman creates account to cover hit-and-run victim’s costs

An area resident set up a bank account Tuesday for people to donate money to a 23-year-old Aspen man who suffered a broken back after he was hit by a car while parking cars at the Hotel Jerome on New Year’s Eve.

The driver of the black SUV left Ryan Blastos, a former Marine, lying in the street behind the hotel after hitting him and pinning him against a parked car. A story in Tuesday’s Aspen Times chronicled the health challenges Blastos currently faces.

Blastos expressed gratitude Tuesday for the actions of Susan Markwood, who opened the account in his name at Alpine Bank in Aspen. He said he was rushed to Denver on Monday so doctors could deal with a “massive infection” in his back caused by injuries he suffered when he was hit.

“I’ll be going to Denver once a week for the foreseeable future,” Blastos said. “I’m tired and hurting trying to make some forward progress on this injury.”

He suffered a herniated disc in his lower back and a fractured vertebra as a result of the accident. The driver of the black Subaru or BMW SUV has never been found.

Blastos said he’s so far been able to make ends meet because workers’ compensation has been paying him two-thirds of his former Hotel Jerome salary, though it isn’t very much money. But he has not been able to work since he was hit Dec. 31.

Anyone who wishes to donate to Blastos can contact Alpine Bank in Aspen.