Avon police track down hit-and-run suspect in Tennessee
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A man charged with a hit-and-run made his run all the way to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Avon Police tracked him down earlier this week.
Michael Glass is charged with attempted murder and hit-and-run for a Dec. 9, 2013, incident that left Alfonzo Palma unconscious and bleeding beside the road on a sub-zero night. Glass is being held on $15,000 bond in the Eagle County jail.
Palma, an Avon resident, worked at The Westin and was walking home along U.S. Highway 6, west of Avon Road, at about 2 a.m. that night, Avon police said. The next thing Palma knew, a motorist rolled by and found him busted up, unconscious and lying by the road in sub-zero weather. Among his injuries was a compound fracture to his leg.
“If that motorist hadn’t found him, given his condition and the temperature, it’s doubtful he would have survived,” said Bob Ticer, Avon Police Chief.
The driver who hit Palma was long gone when police arrived, and investigators were left scrambling for clues. They found one tiny bit of evidence, a fastener from a front bumper. They spent an incredible number of hours investigating, Ticer said. They put the word out to the public, but nothing came back. They even looked in every auto body repair shop in a 50 mile radius of Avon. Nothing.
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What Goes Around Comes Around
Then about a month ago, Ticer received an email from someone in Georgia saying they had third-party information about it, and that Michael D. Glass had done it. Glass had lived in the area, but had moved back to that Chattanooga area on the Tennessee/Georgia state line around the time of the incident. Glass apparently told a couple people about it, and they told someone else. Eventually, word reached back to the Avon Police Department.
“He reached out to a couple people and let them know what had happened,” Ticer said. “It went to another person, and it was weighing on that person’s conscience, and they contacted us.”
Ticer dispatched Sgt. Ken Dammen and Deputy Chief Greg Daly to the Chattanooga area to investigate. They interviewed the person who sent the email and a few others, and quickly learned that Glass had since sold his car, a 2001 Toyota Corolla, to someone in Chickamauga, Georgia.
They started with the people who had purchased the car, Ticer said.
“These perfectly nice people were a little surprised when Avon Police officers, members of the Georgia State Patrol and a team from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation showed up at their door,” Ticer said.
The accident reconstruction investigators examined the vehicle and determined that the car had likely been involved in a collision with a pedestrian, Ticer said.
Then it was time to interview Glass, who admitted most of it, Ticer said.
Glass’s two options were explained to him: wait to be arrested until warrants could be issue, or come back to Colorado and turn yourself in.
Glass bought a one-way plane ticket to Colorado and was arrested as soon as his plane touched down in the Centennial State.
“We always do everything we can, but sometimes it takes a concerned member of the public to help,” Ticer said. “We’re thankful that this person chose to get involved.”
Palma still walks with a limp and nine months later is still recovering from the ordeal.
“We met with Mr. Palma and told him the person who did this is in custody. He was very appreciative,” Ticer said.
Glass faces four charges: Vehicular assault, hit and run, DUI and attempted first-degree murder for leaving Palma in that condition in the sub-zero weather.
He was arraigned earlier this week and he’s back in court Tuesday.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.