Report: Driver killed on Highway 82 near Aspen probably using ‘electronic device’
The NBA agent killed last month in a crash on Highway 82 in Woody Creek ran a stop sign and likely was on his cellphone at the time of the accident, according to the Colorado State Patrol’s final accident report.
Dan Fegan, 56, died Feb. 25 after the SUV he was driving pulled in front of a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus, which was traveling down Highway 82. Fegan’s 5-year-old son and 29-year-old nanny sustained serious injuries in the crash.
“The primary cause of this crash was Mr. Fegan failing to stop at the posted stop sign, fail(ing) to yield right of way to an approaching vehicle, and inattentive … driving by possibly manipulating an electronic handheld device while operating a motor vehicle,” CSP Trooper Brett Williams wrote in the report.
Williams reported finding no other reason for the crash, noting that Fegan’s vision upvalley was clear and that no adverse weather or road conditions existed at the time, the report states. In addition, Williams found no obvious defects in either Fegan’s rental Kia Sportage or the RFTA bus that would have caused the accident, according to the report.
“It is my opinion that Mr. Fegan was operating his vehicle without due regard for the posted traffic control signage or other traffic,” Williams wrote in the report. “The probability that he was operating a handheld electronic device while operating the motor vehicle would lead to inattentiveness. … Distraction by other passengers in the vehicle could also be a possibility.”
The RFTA bus driver did nothing to cause the crash, the report states.
The accident occurred about 9:20 a.m. at the intersection of Smith Way and Highway 82. Fegan was attempting to cross the downvalley Highway 82 lanes in order to cross the highway median and turn left to head upvalley on the highway, according to previous information released by the state patrol.
Video from the bus shows that it reached a maximum speed of 58 mph on Highway 82 — the speed limit is 55 mph — before slowing to 57 mph as it approached the Smith Way intersection, according to the report. When Fegan’s vehicle pulled out, the bus driver attempted to steer left to avoid impact, but hit the vehicle while traveling 52 mph, the report states.
The bus video showed that Fegan’s vehicle slowed when it approached the intersection but did not stop, though its speed was slow enough that a full stop was “reasonable,” the report states. The video revealed no indication the SUV’s tires slid on the snowy road surface or was otherwise hindered, according to Williams’ report.
Also, the video showed that Fegan did not look to his left at oncoming traffic until just before the bus impacted the SUV, the report states.
Finally, Williams conducted a frame-by-frame assessment of the video of the time just before the crash.
“My observations of the frame stills shows an object being raised up to the level of the steering wheel and back down as the vehicle is near the posted stop sign and near the point of impact,” Williams wrote in the report. “A device with an electronic screen is visible at steering wheel level and then lowered prior to impact.
“These observations would be consistent with someone holding an electronic device in their hand while operating the vehicle.”
The 29-year-old nanny received multiple head injuries in the crash and was initially placed in a medically induced coma and flown to a hospital in Grand Junction, the report states.
She was listed in stable condition Friday in Grand Junction, according to a spokesperson at St. Mary’s Hospital.
Fegan’s son sustained two broken femurs and a broken pelvis and also was flown to Grand Junction, the report states. His current condition was not available Friday.
A family spokesperson was looking at the report Friday but did not want to comment on the findings.
Fegan was named one of the top NBA agents in the country by Forbes Magazine in 2016, with clients including Dwight Howard, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Nene and Ricky Rubio.
His death sent a shock through the NBA community with numerous league officials, owners and players sending their condolences to the family.
A memorial service and funeral were held March 7 in Connecticut, which is where he grew up. Another memorial is planned for Wednesday in Beverly Hills, which is where Fegan was living.
Since the accident, state and Pitkin County officials visited the crash site and recommended changes in the signage at the intersection. The additions include a “stop ahead” sign that will be installed before drivers on Smith Way arrive at the intersection. CDOT plans to replace a temporary stop sign for drivers who want to cross the downvalley Highway 82 lanes to head upvalley and will add another flashing light to the lower portion of the downvalley stop sign.
The accident reignited community debate about the dangers of the intersection, which has seen fatal crashes in the past. The intersection averages 2.6 crashes per year, according to CDOT statistics.
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Aspen Skiing Co. officials made a tag-team appeal to the Pitkin County Commissioners Wednesday urging approval for the proposed expansion of the Pandora’s terrain and other projects on Aspen Mountain. The commissioners continued the hearing until Aug. 28, when a vote is possible.