DA may charge skier involved in Aspen collision that led to death

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ASPEN, Colo. — What started out as a pleasant day on the slopes ended in death for a skier visiting Aspen Mountain Monday. Now it may also result in criminal charges being field against another.

According to the Aspen Times, Natalie Egleston, 48, of Ardmore, Pa. died from injuries she suffered after a collision with Virginia Chen, 53, of New York City. The Pitkin County District Attorney’s office received the results of Egleston’s autopsy Friday, and will now work to determine what charges, if any, should be field against Chen.

According to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Brad Gibson, an investigation revealed that Chen was merging from one ski trail to an expert trail when she collided with Egleston, who had stopped on the expert trail for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.

Egleston was knocked to the ground and suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as cracked ribs, according to the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office. Chen suffered minor injuries, according to the report.

Chen was interviewed by deputies, but gave no specific explanation for the cause of the accident.

Jeff Lumsden, a patrol director with the Sheriff’s Office, told the Times that the first step in determining possible charges against Chen will be to determine if she violated one of three provisions in the Colorado Skier Safety Act.

This was one particular provision that Lumsden pointed to:

“Each skier has the duty to maintain control of his speed and course at all times when skiing and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers and objects. However, the primary duty shall be on the person skiing downhill to avoid collision with any person or objects below him.”

A violation of that provision is considered a Class 2 petty offense, punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000.

Lumsden went on to say that violations of the Skier Safety Act rarely result in criminal charges. Then again, he continued, ski collisions rarely result in death.

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