Teen paid off after fight on Aspen’s slopes | VailDaily.com

Teen paid off after fight on Aspen’s slopes

Joel Stonington
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” A skier who allegedly assaulted a snowboarder after a collision on Aspen Mountain will not face criminal charges, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office says.

The case was closed because the “victim failed to prosecute,” according to sheriff’s office records.

The apparent settlement comes after a Jan. 2 altercation, following the collision between Michael John Wilson, 19, and Stephen Benson, 58. Benson allegedly punched and kicked Wilson, who sustained minor injuries in the scuffle.

Benson told investigators hat he had hit Wilson, though he did not say he kicked Wilson, according to the police report.

“I was the victim,” said Benson, reached at home in New York on Tuesday. “[Wilson] skied into me and knocked me for a loop. That’s what really happened.”

When asked about the monetary settlement in the case, Benson hung up the telephone.

The case reportedly was closed after investigating deputy George Kremer got a call from Benson’s lawyer, John Case of Aspen, who said a “monetary settlement” had been reached and that “Michael Williams was satisfied with the settlement,” the report says.

Wilson has returned to Australia and could not be reached for this story. However, his uncle, Garth Wilson ” who is a local limousine operator and reported the incident to police ” said he was stunned to hear that the criminal case had been closed.

“As far as I knew, they were still going to still charge him with third-degree assault,” he said Tuesday. “I don’t know if it can be reopened or what.”

The uncle said the payments given to Michael were “just a little medical stuff.”

Sheriff’s Detective Ron Ryan said cases are routinely closed if a victim decides not to prosecute.

The incident reportedly followed a collision between the two men on the newly-named Lazy Boy ski run, formerly known as Copper Connector and about 300 yards uphill from the bottom of the Gentlemen’s Ridge ski lift.

According to a statement from Michael Wilson, he was hit from above and behind by Benson.

In the police report, Kremer wrote that a witness, Lynn Phillips of Aspen, saw the fight from the Gentleman’s Ridge chair.

Phillips reportedly told Kremer that she saw Benson and Wilson collide after Wilson stood up and started snowboarding without looking uphill.

“He ran directly into the skier ” they both went down,” Phillips’ statement says. “There was some shouting between them, the skier was very upset and he came at the snowboarder ” punched him in the face and kicked him.”

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