The Aspen Daily News reported today, that Lance Armstrong was issued two traffic citations last month for allegedly hitting two parked vehicles in Aspen’s West End and leaving the scene — with his girlfriend apparently telling police initially that she had been behind the wheel in order to avoid publicity.
Armstrong’s girlfriend, Anna Hansen, also allegedly lied about whether the Armstrong had been drinking.
As result, she was initially cited for failing to report an accident and improper speed for conditions. However, after disclosing to police that Armstrong was in fact driving, thte citations were transferred to the defrocked cyclist.
According to detective Rick Magnuson, the Aspen Police were called to West Francis Street on Dec. 29 by a homeowner who said he was the victim of a hit-and-run accident the night before.
That day, community safety officer, Robert Schafer, discovered the suspect vehicle on West North Street, registered to Armstrong.
Later that day, Hansen met Magnuson and Schafer in the driveway of the West End home she shares with Armstrong.
In the report, “Hansen said that she was driving home from an Aspen Art Museum party the previous night,” Magnuson wrote in the police report. “Hansen told me that she drove the GMC home because ‘Lance had a little bit to drink so I was driving. I was not drinking.’”
Further details of the report stated, that Hanson drove through the West End, she lost control of the vehicle and struck the parked cars on West Francis Street, she told police. Hansen then went around a corner, returned on foot and spoke to the homeowner, telling him she’d pay for the damage. Hansen and Armstrong were not injured.
“Hansen added that she believed that she completed her legal obligation after providing her information to ,” Magnuson wrote. “I informed Hansen that she was required to immediately notify the police of an accident and return to or remain at the scene. Hansen told me that she was unaware of this law.”
After writing her the tickets, Magnuson remained suspicious of Hansen’s story. The art museum’s gala had been held at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, and the detective spoke with an employee of the valet company that worked the event.
The employee “told me that he recognized Lance Armstrong and Anna Hansen,” Magnuson wrote. “He told me that he assisted Hansen to the passenger side of the GMC, and Armstrong entered the driver’s side and drove away from the St. Regis.”
Later on Dec. 29, Magnuson again spoke with Hansen, telling her he doubted her story because of what the valet had said. She allegedly became upset, saying that she shopped at Aspen City Market, came out and told Armstrong to get in the passenger seat.
The West End homeowner, who told police that it was relatives’ rental vehicles that were damaged, recounted that after the crash:
“A woman, well-dressed, 30ish, blond … came running around the corner in her high heels in 6 inches of packed snow, which was pretty impressive; she ran directly to us and said, ‘We’re so sorry, we came around the corner and slipped on the ice, and we hit your cars.’
“She said, ‘I’m Anna, we’re the Armstrongs, my husband’s Lance, he was just driving too fast around the corner or something,’” the report says.
On Dec. 31, Hansen went to the Pitkin County Courthouse to be interviewed by Magnuson. Here, she allegedly acknowledged she hadn’t been driving and that she had given her name and contact information to the homeowner.
Magnuson said he asked her who was driving.
“I asked, ‘And Lance was driving the car when it crashed into those two other cars?’”
Hansen allegedly said yes.
“I asked Hansen if Armstrong asked her to take the blame for the accident once they got home,” Magnuson wrote. “She replied, ‘No, that was a joint decision, and, um, you know we’ve had our family name smeared over every paper in the world in the last couple of years and honestly, I’ve got teenagers, I just wanted to protect my family because I thought, ‘Gosh, Anna Hansen hit some cars, it’s not going to show up in the papers, but Lance Armstrong hit some cars, it’s going to be a national story.’”
Hansen, responding to another Magnuson inquiry, said Armstrong was not drunk when he drove home from the St. Regis.
“He was not intoxicated, and that was um, you know, I’m sorry I lied to you that morning but I was trying to make sound like, well, I was driving because that was, just, I don’t know … I was just trying to make something up at that time.”
Magnuson told Hansen that he appreciated her honesty and that he wouldn’t file charges against her.
Asked why Hansen wasn’t charged with making a false report to police, deputy district attorney Andrea Bryan said the decision hinged on Hansen’s confession.
“In circumstances such as this, where the witness was subsequently and nearly immediately cooperative with law enforcement, remorseful, and came forward with the truth, it would be incredibly rare for our office to charge the witness with false reporting,” Bryan said in an email. “The policy of our office is to encourage all witnesses to tell the truth, and if witnesses lived in fear of being prosecuted for coming forward after making a mistake, we would rarely, if ever, get the full truth from our victims or witnesses.”
In other cases involving a suspect providing false information, a false reporting charge can be sought if the person continues “to maintain that lie,” she said. “It is, in fact, more often than not, in my experience, that a false reporting charge is ultimately dismissed even if it is charged initially.
“This case has been treated as any other under the circumstances, with the primary goal of obtaining the truth and making sure the right person was issued the ticket.”
Armstrong has hired Denver attorney Pamela Mackey, to handle his case. Mackey told Magnuson that Armstrong did not want to speak with authorities about the incident.
Armstrong is due in court March 17.
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