Authorities Search For Ski Collision Hit-and-Run Suspect
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- A ski collision hit-and-run sent a man to St. Mary's Hospital, as Pitkin County Sheriff officials search for the suspect.
Larry Niles, is a 77-year-old man whose passion for outdoor activities keeps him young.
"He's a very active man, he's always been. Every day we do something, anything, something physical, whether it's walking, hiking, biking, running, or skiing," said Lily Niles, Larry's wife.
But February 17, a ski collision at Aspen Highlands, took a turn for the worst.
"He was down, and we didn't even focus on anything else other than he was down. We didn't even look to see who else was taking off. Three of us hiked back up to where he was and by that time other people were already attending to him and he was unconscious. He wasn't responding to our questions," said Niles.
The suspect who hit Niles had vanished within seconds.
"He took off, just like a hit and run, which is what we call it. It's a criminal act," said Niles.
Larry Niles was taken to the Aspen Valley ER and treated for a punctured lung, and six broken ribs before doctors found blood clots in his chest, which eventually caused Niles to be transferred to St. Mary's Hospital. Niles remains at the hospital where he currently cannot speak, or feel the right side of his body.
"It was unbelievable, the turn of events, he was ready to come home and now he can't even walk or talk," said Niles.
The family says they don't know how long he will be in the hospital, and that he's recovering slowly. Doctors told the family it will take six months to a year to get Niles feeling near 100 percent.
"It's heartbreaking to see him in this condition. It's so sad because he just didn't deserve something like this, it just happened," said Niles.
Pitkin County Sheriff officials say the suspect can face up to a $1,000 fine for breaking the Skier Safety Act, which is considered a petty offense.
"Please turn yourself in , if you have any conscious please turn yourself in and do the right thing," said Niles.
Pitkin County Sheriff officials are searching for the suspect who witnesses say was wearing a blue ski jacket and a blue hat.
To report any information contact Brad Gibson with the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office at (970)-920-5300.