‘Boarder booked after plowing into ski class
GSPI Managing Editor
A 20-year-old snowboarder who had allegedly been drinking plowed into a beginner’s ski class of children at Sunlight Mountain Resort Saturday, hitting three children and breaking one girl’s leg, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff’s Deputy Donovan Livingston arrested Michael Wolff of Killeen, Texas, on suspicion of felony child abuse, reckless endangerment, underage drinking and skiing under the influence.
As of press time Sunday, Wolff remained lodged at the Garfield County Jail on a $20,650 bond pending an appearance before a judge today, according to Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steve Hardesty.
“This was not just an honest accident,” Hardesty said. Wolff was observed before the crash skiing recklessly, Hardesty said.
Investigators have not yet learned how Wolff obtained the alcohol.
“He wasn’t very cooperative with us,” Hardesty said.
The crash happened about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, no more than 100 yards uphill from the Sunlight Lodge and close to the Tercero lift line, said Jeff Bader of Carbondale, father of a less seriously injured child.
Bader was skiing Saturday while his daughter, Sophia Carter-Page, 5, was taking her third ski lesson. He planned to meet Sophia after her lesson so they could take a run together. He came upon the accident scene about 15 to 20 minutes after it happened.
By that time, ski patrollers and other adult skiers, 20 to 30 people altogether, had stopped to help the ski instructor and the four children in the class. The ski instructor told Wolff to take off his snowboard and stay put, Bader said.
Bader said he got upset and angry, but he knew it was comforting to his daughter to have a parent nearby. He said the ski patrol “did a tremendous job” following the crash.
Sophia’s forearm and wrist were hit in the collision. While her arm swelled up, X-rays taken later Saturday at Valley View Hospital indicate the bones were bruised, but not broken, said Sophia’s mother, Annie Carter-Page of Carbondale. Sophia is a kindergarten student at Crystal River Elementary School.
Bader said the four beginner skiers were standing still, lined up behind their teacher, when Wolff ran into them. The snowboarder missed the child at the end of the line but hit the other three.
Bader said the girl standing behind Sophia suffered a broken leg. Her parents weren’t skiing on Saturday, but met her at the hospital.
The injuries suffered by the third child were unavailable at press time, but Bader said he didn’t believe they were serious. All four children were about 5 to 7 years old, he said.
Bader said he plans to get his daughter back in a ski lesson. She loved skiing after her second lesson, he said.
“We’re not going to let one person’s terrible decisions affect our love of skiing. We’re going to get her back out there,” he said.
Contact Heather McGregor: 945-8515, ext. 517
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