Teens assault two women in Carbondale | AspenTimes.com

Teens assault two women in Carbondale

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox/Post IndependentFive days after she was attacked and beaten, this Carbondale resident still has visible injuries.

CARBONDALE ” She traveled the world alone and had never been assaulted by anyone until Thursday in Carbondale.

She lived there for about 2 1/2 years because she loved the town and thought it was safe. Now, she feels uncomfortable even walking to work to teach at one of Carbondale’s schools.

“It’s chiefly the emotional component to all of this,” she said. “I can handle the physical injury. I can handle getting new credit cards and a driver’s license, but the fact [is] I don’t feel comfortable walking to school. I feel like such an idiot. I reveled living in this town for years.”

This 26-year-old woman and a 24-year-old female friend were attacked Thursday around 8 p.m. by three teenage girls. They were walking toward downtown by Second Street and Maroon Drive.

The woman asked that her real name not be used for the story and will be referred to as Jane.

She and her friend heard the sound of running footsteps behind them. They turned around and saw three high-school aged girls. Their faces weren’t covered.

No one said anything. Jane and her friend kind of brushed it off and continued walking. They even laughed at themselves for feeling a little uncomfortable because they were in Carbondale, after all. Carbondale seems safer than Chicago, where Jane is from, or places around the world she’s visited by herself, including developing countries, she said.

“We kind of joked to each other that it feels like we’re being followed by a gang,” she said. “But we kind of laughed because ” oh ” we’re in Carbondale.”

Less than a minute later, Jane heard running footsteps again, started to turn around and got punched in the side of the head. She remembers seeing the girls wearing bandanas pulled up to just under their eyes. She doesn’t remember hearing anyone say anything. At one point two girls were on top of her.

“At that point things get a little jumbled in my head because I was hit so many times,” she said.

Jane said she suffered a serious black eye, pain and bruising with a total of around five or six different marks on her face. Her friend suffered similar physical injuries. In the past, Jane had suffered a head injury that caused her to go into a coma, she said, and each blow could have been tremendously damaging. But the worst injuries from Thursday’s assault were emotional.

As the assault ended after probably less than a minute, Jane and her friend saw the girls heading to a car that had a number of guys in it. They got the license plate and vehicle description and called the police.

Officers located the vehicle soon after in the City Market parking lot, Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling said. Three of four teenagers in the car were charged with aggravated assault, and a total of seven teenagers had received citations within one or a few days as officers completed interviews and their investigation. The suspects range in age from 13 to 17 and live in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. The three girls were also charged with robbery.

Jane said Carbondale police response was “amazing.”

She believes the girls had perhaps been trying to prove something to their friends. She didn’t know the girls or why they were targeted. It’s awkward, Jane said, when friends and people who see her bruises, hear the story and inevitably ask and she has to answer that, yes, the attackers were Hispanic. Jane and her friend are white.

“I don’t know how race plays into this,” Jane said. “I hate to think that. … I think it’s possible.”

Schilling said he does not believe the attack was racially motivated, and the crime seemed like one of opportunity for financial gain.

Jane said the attackers didn’t demand money, and they only took one of the two purses. She said it’s ironic that the attackers probably didn’t know she is working for a master’s degree in bilingual education. She also just booked tickets to Mexico to practice Spanish and start a special education program for abused children.

“You probably didn’t think about how this action could result in a teacher contemplating leaving her beloved students and school, because she is so disgusted by what could occur just blocks from her own home,” Jane said to her attackers in a guest commentary in the Post Independent, the newspaper in Glenwood Springs.

One of the toughest parts of the assault is trying to explain to young students why people would want to hurt their teacher.

She said she probably will stay in Carbondale because she’s stubborn; she’s already starting to feel better and has an amazing network of friends. They’ve equipped her with pepper spray and suggested self-defense classes. She’s still nursing her eye and some swelling and soreness in her head.


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