An ill-advised, inebriated jump over a crowd of spectators at a ski competition in Colorado has led to a criminal investigation after two people were injured, authorities said.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that a criminal probe has been launched into Saturday’s crash at the Copper Mountain Ski Resort, where skiers were taking part in the 2018 Red Bull Slope Soakers event.
After getting a report of a contestant who intentionally skied into onlookers, responding deputies identified Hayden Wright, 26, of Englewood, Colo., as the man who witnesses said badly missed his mark and broke a woman’s collarbone in the process.
“It was not even close,” witness Chris Logan told The Summit Daily. “You’d have to be Red Gerard and not drinking to clear that.”
Logan said Wright approached him prior to the jump while holding a Bloody Mary and said he was planning to jump over the crowd. Logan and another woman standing nearby when Wright made the statement were puzzled by the declaration, he said.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘There’s no way he’s actually going to try that sort of thing, right?’” Logan recalled to the newspaper.
Logan then joined the crowd, which was about six-people deep, he said. He then prepared for the worst as Wright barreled down the hill.
“I just hit the deck,” Logan said. “When I got up everyone was all shaken. There were three to four people on the ground hurt. It was like a car wreck. Everyone was shocked.”
Nine seconds of footage obtained by the newspaper shows a skier going down a small hill before hitting a ramp and launching into a crowd of spectators. Rap music blared from speakers as startled spectators reacted in shock, according to the brief video.
Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons told the newspaper that deputies were delayed in responding to the incident, which was reported over dispatch as a reckless driving crash, because a suicide threat received nearby took precedence.
Ski patrollers respond to injured spectators after Wright’s crash.Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News
Wright was later cited for third-degree assault and a violation of the skier safety act — both misdemeanors — and was released, according to the sheriff’s office.
“The charges were withdrawn as news of the event became known on social media, which led to additional witnesses and victims coming forward,” sheriff officials said Tuesday. “Office detectives are continuing to investigate the incident and obtain witness and victim statements.”
Erin Opsahl, a spokeswoman for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, declined further comment when reached by The Post on Wednesday.
FitzSimons, meanwhile, told The Summit Daily that investigators think the charge against Wright should be “increased to a felony” after one of the injured spectators had a broken collarbone, according to her boyfriend. Under state law, assaults are usually considered a felony if a victim suffers serious injuries, the newspaper reports.
“If you look at the weight of skis and their razor sharp edges, they can be like weapons,” FitzSimons said, adding it remains unclear exactly how intoxicated Wright was given the delayed response time. “We have witnesses saying he was drinking a Bloody Mary before his run, but nobody’s saying he was drinking a pitcher or anything.”