Second snowboarder comes forward to take blame for Aspen Mountain collision
The Aspen Times
ASPEN — A second snowboarder stepped forward Tuesday, Jan. 16, to take blame for a collision last week on Aspen Mountain, saying he, not his friend, was the one who crashed into a tourist.
Connor Marx, 26, of Aspen, called The Aspen Times on Tuesday morning and confessed to being the person who hit a 56-year-old skier from Illinois on Thursday afternoon.
“I want to set it straight and make sure people know (Michael McKiernan) didn’t do that,” Marx said in a phone call. “I want to come forward so he doesn’t take the fall.”
Aspen Police Department officials said Tuesday afternoon they have talked with Marx about the incident but had no further updates.
McKiernan denied hitting the skier, saying he went around the man who was already on the ground when he reached him, according to police reports. According to police, McKiernan got into altercations with two Aspen Skiing Co. employees who confronted him at base area and McKiernan was charged with disorderly conduct.
“McKiernan was adamant that he did not hit the male … but rather the male was already on the ground when McKiernan passed him,” according to the police report.
McKiernan, 24, was identified by three witnesses on the ski hill and at the base of the gondola as the person who hit the skier, according to police reports.
Marx said he was snowboarding Thursday afternoon with McKiernan and was ahead of him coming down Little Nell. He said he went over a roller, was looking at his feet and found himself on top of Joe Powers, the skier from Naperville, Illinois.
Powers said Monday he struck his head and back “pretty hard” on the icy run and could not ski the next day, which was the last day of his vacation. He said he did not need medical care.
Marx said he slid down the hill and was dazed after hitting Powers and then looked up the run and saw Powers getting up before going to check himself out. He said he didn’t know about the confrontation involving McKiernan until later.
“My friend has had my back to this point, and obviously I don’t want him to deal with this heat,” Marx said.
He said he didn’t stop and check on Powers after the collision because he looked to be unhurt. He said he regrets that decision and was going to apologize to Powers.
“I would like to take responsibility for this,” he said. “Make it clear that (McKiernan) was wrongfully accused.”
One vehicle came to rest in the eastbound lanes of I-70 and the second vehicle came to rest on North Frontage Road. One occupant of each vehicle was ejected during the crash.