Woman hit by bike still seeking payment | VailDaily.com

Woman hit by bike still seeking payment

J.K. Perry
Special to the DailyBryant Haswell

VAIL – Ten years ago, Chris Meisel suffered a serious brain injury when a drunken bicyclist slammed into her as she walked her two dogs along the Ford Park bike path.”This person came out of nowhere in the dark … and hit me,” said Meisel, who now lives and owns a specialty clothing store in Chadron, Neb. “I never saw him.”Meisel, now 54, spent more than four months recovering from swelling in her brain and now must wear a helmet during physical activities. She has difficulty expressing emotion and requires more rest, part of which is caused by her current treatment for ovarian cancer.The bicyclist, Bryant Haswell, had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit at the time of the accident. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay Meisel $26,000 in restitution.Haswell left town six years ago and broke probation when he failed to pay the final $800. He broke probation again for driving drunk in Florida, said Arleen Sandberg, administrative assistant with the Eagle County District Attorney’s Office.Now suffering from ovarian cancer and seeking to recoup some of the ongoing medical costs from the accident, Meisel restarted the search for Haswell, who is now on Eagle County’s most wanted list.

He is 36 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall. He weighs 135 pounds and has red hair, hazel eyes and a freckled complexion, police said. He also worked for Vail Resorts before leaving town, Vail police Detective Ryan Millbern said.So far Millbern hasn’t found Haswell.”I’ve tried everything I know how to do,” Millbern said. “Everything that was successful in the past is not working.” He got a tip from a Vail bus driver who thought she saw Haswell four weeks ago. The tip lead nowhere. Millbern said Haswell might have left the country, so he began lengthy paperwork to enlist the help of Interpol, a worldwide police organization.Meisel doesn’t remember the accident.”I didn’t wake up for 48 hours,” Meisel said.After a stay at Swedish Medical Center in Denver, she underwent five weeks of physical therapy in Craig, where she had to ensure her caretakers she could cook, buy groceries and provide correct change for the bus, Meisel said.

On her last day at the rehab center, Meisel overheard a man talking about how he was recovering from an accident in which he seriously hurt a woman.It was Haswell.”I said ‘Nice to see your face, Bryant’ and I left,” Meisel said.Three more months of physical therapy in Vail followed.Meisel left Vail about nine years ago after two decades living in the valley. She bounced around a bit until she landed in the northwest corner of Nebraska. There she opened a ladies clothing store.========

A reward up to $1,000 is being offered to anyone with information leading to the arrest and/or indictment of Bryant Haswell. People with information can call Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7008 or 1-800-962-TIPS.========Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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