DA files misdemeanor assault charges against Copper Mountain Resort pond skimmer
The Englewood man accused of trying to ski jump the crowd at Copper Mountain Resort’s closing day pond skim has been charged with a pair of misdemeanors, dodging a felony that law enforcement suggested might be pressed because the disastrous stunt broke a woman’s collarbone.
Hayden Wright, 27, was charged with third-degree assault and reckless endangerment, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office announced on Thursday.
A prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office said the evidence didn’t indicate Wright had malicious intent making the jump.
“You need intent to cause a serious bodily injury for felony assault, and I don’t believe he intended to injure anyone — but he was reckless,” deputy DA Lisa Hunt said. “I think he was just trying to have the best jump.”
The incident occurred on April 14 during Copper’s annual Slopesoakers pond skim and freestyle skiing contest. A witness said Wright announced his intent to jump the crowd beforehand while holding a Bloody Mary. Sheriff’s deputies did not measure Wright’s blood alcohol content, and it’s unclear whether or not he was intoxicated.
After the jump, deputies initially cited Wright for misdemeanor assault, but that charge was withdrawn after investigators learned that Wright had broken a woman’s collarbone in the crash. Under Colorado law, that qualifies as a serious bodily injury, one of several criteria for felony assault charges.
Ultimately, however, DA’s office investigators determined that Wright’s stunt was deeply misguided but not malicious, opting instead for misdemeanor charges.
“The DA’s office has time to sit and look at cases and decide whether or not to increase or decrease charges, and in this case they decided not to file felony charges,” Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said.
Wright’s concern for people’s safety in the aftermath was likely a factor in the decision as well.
“According to witnesses, he was immediately concerned about people’s welfare,” Hunt said.
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The skier, who was on vacation with his family, was found unresponsive at the base of a tree and “was pronounced deceased at the Sunlight ski patrol first-aid room.”