Toyota crashes into Pitkin County Library |

Toyota crashes into Pitkin County Library

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

A 2007 Toyota Highlander crashed into a parked car next to the Pitkin County Library and careened into the library building Tuesday morning.

The silver vehicle was driven by Hans Widmer, 94, of Snowmass Village. Widmer appeared shaken up and was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital.

“He’s lucky he’s doing OK,” said Aspen Community Safety officer Charlie Martin. “The Highlander was going north on Mill Street when it veered off the road and hit a parked car. The Highlander ended up hitting the library building. His airbag did deploy.”

There were no visible skid marks near where the collision took place. The library building saw minor structural damage.

Widmer hit the back of a parked red 2007 Toyota Prius and then veered into the corner of the library that sits above the children’s section, near the intersection of North Mill and East Bleeker streets.

Children’s librarian Susan Keenan was in her office when the Highlander hit the library.

“I jumped,” Keenan said. “It was a huge thud. We were just about to start our baby storytime when the car hit the building. Thank goodness nobody was walking along the sidewalk when it happened.”

Library volunteer Susan Carter was in the office with Keenan and said she could feel the library building shake a bit from the impact.

Victor Bartha was standing outside the library with his family, about 20 feet from the accident. He heard the collision and turned to see the Prius moving forward and the Highlander impacting the library.

“I went up to the Highlander to make sure the driver was OK,” Bartha said. “The older gentleman was shaking pretty bad. He appeared OK other than that. If he hadn’t hit the parked car, I think the accident could have been a lot worse.”

Aspen resident Michael Stranahan owns the Prius and was inside the library at the time of the collision.

“My first thought was how was I going to get through the rest of the day without my car,” Stranahan said. “But then I realized, thank God I wasn’t in my car. That could have been pretty bad.”

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