Car crashes Saturday morning in Aspen, ejects passenger, police say |

Car crashes Saturday morning in Aspen, ejects passenger, police say

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

A 19-year-old man who crashed his car in Aspen early Saturday — allegedly causing one of his three passengers to be ejected from the vehicle and seriously injured — faces five misdemeanor and three felony charges, authorities said Monday.

Cody James Chiarelli, whose address was recorded by the Aspen Police Department as Goose Lane in the El Jebel area, is being held in the Pitkin County Jail under a $9.500 bond, which District Judge Gail Nichols set during a Monday afternoon proceeding.

Officer Kirk Wheatley was doing routine patrol at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday when he observed what appeared to be a single-car accident at the corner of 7th and Main streets, a police statement said. When Wheatley arrived, the vehicle involved in the accident fled the scene, police said.

Wheatley followed it while other policemen attended to the person who appeared to be injured. The car soon lost control at the corner of 7th and Francis streets. Wheatley then made contact with the driver, Chiarelli, who showed signs of intoxication, police said.

Chiarelli and his three passengers all were transported to Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment. Only the person ejected from his car was seriously injured, authorities said.

Chiarelli was booked into the jail at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The eight charges include: DUI, vehicular eluding, vehicular assault, hit and run, reckless driving, possession of alcohol by an underage person, driving with a canceled license and possession of a controlled substance.

In May, Chiarelli was sentenced in Arapahoe County District Court to three years of probation stemming from charges of DUI, a misdemeanor, and vehicular eluding, a felony, according to Aspen prosecutor Andrea Bryan. She suggested a high bond amount of $75,000.

Public defender Sara Steele noted Chiarelli’s longtime connections to the community in arguing for a public-recognizance bond. She said he lives in the Blue Lake area with his mother and that she could supervise him there. She said Chiarelli works for Vector Marketing and recently started taking classes at Colorado Mountain College.

In setting the $9,500 bond, Nichols said she was concerned by the prior charges in Arapahoe County. She said the investigation of the Aspen accident indicated that Chiarelli had been drinking and taking drugs.

“Combining alcohol and Xanax is not a good idea,” Nichols said.

The judge also set other conditions for his bail, prohibiting him from driving, should he obtain release, and ordering him to comply with protection orders. He is not allowed to contact the three passengers who were in his car early Saturday. He also must continue reporting to a local probation officer who inherited Chiarelli’s case from Arapahoe County.

“I am a little concerned this (bond) is a little low,” Nichols said. She also told Chiarelli that he is too young to spend years of his life in jail.

“This is dangerous. I really am worried. Comply, comply, comply, or else you lose your freedom,” Nichols said.

Chiarelli is due back in court on Dec. 16.

In other court proceedings Monday:

• Aedan T. Hopper, 21, of Aspen, who was arrested last year on Dec. 17 for allegedly keeping child pornography on his computer, pleaded guilty Monday to two felony charges of sexual exploitation of a child.

Hopper’s plea was part of an arrangement with the District Attorney’s Office. The prosecutor’s recommended sentence was not disclosed in open court. Nichols set his sentencing hearing for Feb. 3 and reminded Hopper that he doesn’t have to accept the deal. Each charge carries a suggested prison term of two to six years.

Court filings suggested that Hopper solicited girls to provide him with nude pictures. He reportedly admitted to an Aspen police detective last year that he was a pedophile. Nichols ordered a psychosexual examination prior to the sentencing date.