Driver slapped with ticket after ‘rolling coal’ toward ‘March For Your Life’ protestors in Steamboat |

Driver slapped with ticket after ‘rolling coal’ toward ‘March For Your Life’ protestors in Steamboat

A pickup is seen “rolling coal” during the “March For Our Lives” demonstration Sunday at the Routt County Courthouse.
Camille DiTrani/Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A driver was cited by Steamboat Springs police Sunday after interrupting a peaceful demonstration with an obnoxious cloud of dark exhaust.

The local “March For Our Lives” demonstration was held early Saturday evening on the Routt County Courthouse lawn. It was part of a nationwide movement aimed at raising awareness around gun violence and school safety.

The event was connected to last week’s National Walkout, where students from schools across the country, including Steamboat, walked out of class to recognize the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Saturday’s peaceful protest turned hostile when a blue pickup drove by and spewed exhaust at the demonstrators on the sidewalk.

Demonstrators took pictures of the incident, and the truck’s license plate was clearly visible.

Sgt. Evan Noble said Sunday that two officers were in the area during the demonstration.

The demonstrators told police that multiple trucks had driven by and were “rolling coal.”

Police contacted a male driver and issued him a $113.50 citation for the offense.

Noble said he thinks this was the first time locally that someone was cited since the “rolling coal” law went into effect.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the “rolling coal” law last year.

“Coal rolling is a cruel cut to people with asthma or other respiratory issues,” Hickenlooper told the Denver Post last May. “We are well to be rid of it.”

The Post reported that “rolling coal” emerged as a way to have fun at the expense of others and damage air quality.

“Diesel pickup truck drivers illegally tweak their engines — tampering with pollution controls and enabling intake of extra fuel — so that, by stepping on their accelerator pedals, they can blast out spectacularly foul fumes,” the Post reported.

The local “rolling coal” incident created an uproar on social media when Liz Wahl posted the photo by Camille DiTrani on Facebook, which prompted 148 comments.

“Such a disgusting pig to do that to people,” Wahl wrote. “Yes, it is illegal, and yes I swore out a complaint.”

Wahl reported the act was intentional, and the driver went around the block repeatedly and allegedly swerved toward the demonstrators.

A man claiming to have been the driver of the pickup responded to the Facebook post saying he very much learned his lesson.

“And yes there are huge fines involved with my truck and this so called ‘rolling coal’ which won’t be happening again anytime soon!” he wrote.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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