Vehicle barricade protects Mountain Games goers in Vail from suspected drunk driver
On Thursday, June 9, Vail Police officers responded to a report of a disturbance on East Meadow Drive near the Mountain Haus in Vail Village. Arriving officers found a Volvo sedan stopped in front of one of the police department’s portable anti-vehicle barriers that had been placed to protect attendees of the GoPro Mountain Games from vehicular access.
Bystanders were trying to prevent the driver, a 51-year-old from Breckenridge, from leaving the scene. Witnesses reported the driver had been involved in a collision with another vehicle, then drove toward a busy pedestrian area of the event, nearly striking several groups of pedestrians before stopping short of the anti-vehicle barrier. The driver showed signs of being highly intoxicated and was charged with reckless driving, driving without a valid license, driving while license restrained (alcohol-related), and driving under the influence.
The Vail Police Department, in a news release, said it received several complaints about restricting vehicular access to this event and would like to thank the community for its patience.
“I believe without the barrier, it is possible that someone could have been seriously injured or killed in this incident,” says Sgt. David Dempsey, the supervisor on duty at the time of the incident.
“This incident is an example of the types of threats that we plan for, and why we have to take precautions sometimes that may seemingly inconvenience some of our workers and guests,” said Police Commander Justin Liffick. “We are fortunate to have a professional team that has a great deal of experience planning for the safety and security of major events and any public safety issues that may arise.”
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The anti-vehicle barriers were purchased by the department in response to an increase in vehicle-borne threats at events. In July 2016, an attacker in Nice, France, drove a truck into a crowd of people at an event killing 86. There have been many other documented incidents in the U.S. including one last November in Waukesha, Wis., when an SUV drove through a Christmas parade killing five, and wounding 48.
Vail’s incident remains under investigation. If you witnessed this incident or have any additional information, please contact officer Jose Balderas or an on-duty officer at 970-479-2201, email@example.com or on any Vail Police social media sites.
All persons charged with a crime are considered innocent until convicted in a court of law.