Investigation of skier’s death at Vail to conclude next week
VAIL – The month-a-half-long investigation of 13-year-old Steamboat Springs ski racer Ashley Stamp’s death in a collision with a snowmobile on Vail Mountain will be completed next week, Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Shawn Olmstead said.”It’s still ongoing, hopefully it will be completed within a week and I’ll turn it over to the District Attorney’s Office,” Olmstead said.Ashley, 13, who was warming up for a slalom race in Golden Peak, died on Dec. 19 when she collided with a race crew snowmobile driven by Mark Chard, 27, a Vail Resorts employee.”It was a lengthy investigation because it involved a lot of witnesses and a lot of follow-ups,” Olmstead said.Prosecutors will then decide if they’ll file charges against Chard. Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert of Breckenridge said he is still waiting for the State Patrol to finish the investigation to determine if criminal charges should be filed.After the accident, witnesses gave conflicting reports about the collision, including whether the snowmobile had a siren or light on, and whether Stamp was wearing headphones. Initial Colorado State Patrol reports said the siren and light were on and that Stamp was wearing headphones. The reports also said the snowmobile was moving at about 10 mph, but that’s a speed some Steamboat Springs’ parents dispute.Stuart Roberts, who was at the race course the day of the accident to watch his four children, said the snowmobiles were easily going 20 mph and he “didn’t hear any sirens.” Jeff Gibbs, 49, of Steamboat Springs, who has been involved in ski racing for 11 years, and whose son, Alex, was skiing behind Stamp and saw the collision, agreed with Roberts. Gibbs’ perception, he said, was that the snowmobiles were operating “in an irresponsible manner because of the speed.” But Andy Wirth, another parent from Steamboat Springs with extensive ski racing experience and who was at the races watching his children the Saturday before the accident said there wasn’t anything unusual going on in the race arena.Wirth, who said he’s been maintaining close contact with the Stamps since the accident, said he isn’t aware that any lawsuits have been filed.”We’ve been cooperating with the State Patrol’s investigation and I’m not aware of any new substantive information in the case,” Wirth said. “The family and the community are still traumatized by this tragic loss.”Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 454 or email@example.com.
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