Garfield County employee cited in accident

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE – A Garfield County employee was cited for careless driving Wednesday morning after hitting a client walking from the new community corrections facility near the Garfield County Airport.Patrick Antonelli, 63, was driving a county-owned 1998 Ford F250 down County Road 333 around 6:30 a.m., about a quarter-mile from the facility, said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brian Kolecki.The client, John T. Bauer, was walking down the side of the road when he was “glanced” by the truck. Bauer, 31, was taken to the Grand River Medical Center with a concussion, a back strain and some lacerations, and he was expected to be released Wednesday, Kolecki said. The community corrections facility currently houses about 47 offenders in work release programs.Garfield County manager Ed Green said he believes Bauer was released and was doing well.”Fortunately it didn’t result in a serious injury,” Green said.Antonelli works as a mechanic for the county, he said.Antonelli also was cited for failure to provide proof of insurance, but he probably had insurance and just did not have the insurance card in the vehicle, according to Kolecki.Community corrections director Rick Harter confirmed that another community corrections client was hit about two months ago while riding a bike on Airport Road during a trip to Wal-Mart. That client was wearing a reflective vest and lighting, according to policy for clients leaving during low-light hours. Bauer was not. He said he had a ride waiting outside, but proceeded to walk to a point farther down the road without the equipment, Harter said.”Obviously all this is a concern for us,” Harter said.One community corrections client, who didn’t want to be identified, said there’s a problem with clients walking or biking from the center to town on the road with no lighting. He thinks community corrections should do more to offer safe transportation.”The reason I’m making such a big stink about it is because they’re not doing anything, and people’s lives are in jeopardy here,” he said.Harter said there’s not much lighting on Airport Road and the facility’s location is not the perfect place, but clients who get approved to leave the facility are supposed to use provided safety equipment like reflective vests, flashlights, and helmets for cyclists. There’s also a bus that clients can use, which goes out at 6:30 a.m. and comes back at 3:30 p.m., Harter added. He estimated the community corrections facility is about 4.5 miles from Wal-Mart.”We will be taking steps to make sure the clients understand the rules a little better,” he said. “If (Bauer) would have followed the rules in the first place this would not have happened this morning.”Kolecki, who also responded to the accident involving the community corrections cyclist, said that client also was not badly injured. But he shared the concerns about lighting on Airport Road.”In my opinion, yeah, definitely, it needs more lighting – especially if there’s going to be people walking on the roads,” he said.The county opened the $1.5 million, 60-bed community corrections facility earlier this year.Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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