36-year-old David Cavaliere has been charged with the felony vehicular homicide for his role in a March traffic crash in Silt that killed 2 motorcyclists. DA Jeff Cheney upped that charge significantly this week, after Cavaliere had originally been charged only with a misdemeanor. Police had said Cavaliere’s SUV had one of the bikes underneath it, the other at its side. Cavaliere told authorities he never saw the cycles or riders until he tried to turn onto Silt’s First Street and his airbags went off. Witnesses contradicted that, saying the motorcycles were very visible, and had their headlights on. Officers who talked with Cavaliere say they didn’t get any indication he’d been drinking, but in the car they found a half-empty whiskey bottle. He’d claimed to have been working all day, but a permit on his windshield indicated Cavaliere had been at Harvey Gap state park. He was reportedly evasive in the days following the wreck, refusing to talk to police, so they issued an arrest warrant. Cavaliere will be arraigned on the new charges in Garfield County court next month.
Following last December’s fatal charlift accident at Ski Granby Ranch in Grand County, state ski authorities including lift inspectors want to make things safer for next season, beginning this fall. Chief inspector Larry Smith tells the Denver Post some changes are planned that should help with safety. He says part of the new system will be a delay between when lift operators slow chairs down and speed them back up. The idea is to cut down chair movement. Sudden movements are believed to have been what threw Texas mom Kelly Huber and her daughters out of a Granby ranch chair, 25 feet to her death. Her girls, ages 9 & 12 at the time, were hurt, but survived.
Police had to hold their guns on a pair of suspects in our area while arresting them this week. Aspen officers say 27-year-old Carl Evins is charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft. He’s alleged to have stolen a truck from downtown Tuesday morning, but added gas to its tank before getting busted. The owner of the truck saw Evins driving away in it for a few moments. The truck was finally stopped near Basalt, with the officers ordering Evins out at gunpoint, telling him to get on the ground. He was arraigned for that case Wednesday.
The other case had a homeless man getting arrested late Sunday night, when police responded to a burglar alarm at a house. The 54-year-old suspect, Jeffrey Nitz, had been asleep in a bed after breaking in. Officers say he was very intoxicated, but compliant after they trained their guns on him. Nitz, apparently a known homeless person around the upper valley, claimed to the officers he’d “accidentally” walked in to that house while looking for his campsite. He’ll be in court next month, facing only misdemeanor charges like trespassing and criminal mischief.
And some folks around Aspen really hate the fact the walk signals on traffic lights in the city have those chirping bird sounds, designed to make it easier for visually-impaired people to know when to cross the street. Some businesses and some ordinary pedestrians think the chirps are too loud, and are distracting from blocks away. Turns out that since a person who can’t see well requested the help, the sound is required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Public Works says talks are going on to see if the volume can be adjusted a bit, though.