Strange tale on a dark and stormy night
September 9, 2003
It had all the makings of a horror story. First of all, it was a dark and stormy night. Lightning from one of the many isolated storms that have charged through the valley flashed sharply and thunder bounced off the mountains.
A crash jolted the residents of 275 Sierra Vista Drive in Missouri Heights at about 8 p.m. Monday, but it wasn’t the rumble of thunder. Instead a 1969 Chevy pickup had driven off the left side of the road, crossed 137 feet of meadow, popped through a fence and barreled into the chimney that protruded from the side of the house. The impact knocked the fireplace from the interior wall.
A male occupant of the house ran out into the rain to see what had happened. The pickup driver had attempted to back away but got hung up on the fence. The driver got out with a rifle.
The occupant of the house, Pete Hadju, later reported to authorities that the driver didn’t appear to have all his wits about him. The man didn’t threaten Hadju. Instead he claimed he was going to kill himself.
“The homeowner wrestled the gun away,” said Sgt. Mark Mason of the Colorado State Patrol.
The driver disappeared into the gloom of the rainy night. Eagle County deputies received a call about the incident and scrambled along with deputies from Pitkin County and a Basalt police officer to mount a search.
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Eagle County Deputy Rob Lawson said the weather and terrain hampered the search. Officers didn’t know if the man sought refuge in another home or if he was toughing out the elements. They didn’t believe he had a weapon but, to be safe, had to conduct the search as if the suspect was armed and potentially dangerous.
They were unable to find the man but later in the evening they received a report that a man identified as Aaron Koski, 26, of El Jebel, had allegedly confronted a resident of Millbourne Court, also in Missouri Heights, Lawson said.
The occupant of that residence reported that Koski came to his house and started banging on a car and the home. The occupant and Koski “didn’t like each other” and had a history of confrontations, Lawson said.
Millbourne Court is roughly two miles away from where the pickup hit the house on Sierra Vista Drive. Lawson said Koski apparently “hoofed it” to confront his enemy. No one was injured in the confrontation.
Koski again fled into the night. Deputies resumed their search but couldn’t find him. They called off efforts at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Lawson said law enforcement officials talked with Koski’s family Tuesday morning and learned that he had been taken to a Grand Junction hospital. People who had been with Koski earlier Monday said the man hadn’t been drinking. Instead the man was suffering from apparent “mental problems,” Lawson said.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the incident and hasn’t decided yet if Koski will be arrested.
Mason said the state patrol intends to cite Koski for allegedly ramming into the house but hasn’t determined the charges.
[Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com]