Bicyclist hurt in hit-and-run is healing in Steamboat, hoping police catch the driver
Mike Olsen’s only view of Steamboat Springs has been limited to a window in his hospital room, where he can see a small ridgeline outside.
On Tuesday morning, June 14, Olsen was touring his bike from Missoula, Montana, to Silverthorne when he was hit by a car just outside of Walden in a 65 mph zone.
Leaning against the wall of the hospital room is custom-fitted, steel-frame bicycle that is about as busted-up as he is.
It was especially windy that day, and Olsen doesn’t remember hearing the vehicle approach. Between the heavy winds and his bike being fully loaded, the going was slow and strenuous as he rode southwest on Colorado Highway 14.
Olsen was on his way to an Umphrey’s McGee concert near Silverthorne. He also had tickets to their two following shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and a fourth show in Vail.
He doesn’t remember much from the accident, only that his forward progress was halted immediately, and a pannier bag on the back of his bike was blasted ahead of him.
The vehicle never stopped or even slowed down enough for Olsen to get a good look at it, he said.
He doesn’t remember much about the vehicle, only that it was maroon, or burgundy perhaps. He suspected it was a car, not a truck, because most of the impact was felt in the lower rear parts of the bike.
“I don’t know how any human being could do what they’ve done and not have any remorse,” Olsen said.
Another driver passed in the opposite direction and took a U-turn after seeing Olsen lying in the embankment on the side of the road. Olsen recalled seeing “a couple gentlemen” who called 911.
Olsen suffered a broken fibula, scapula and clavicle, as well as nine broken ribs and torn ligaments in his ankle.
During the ambulance ride into Steamboat Springs, Olsen called his wife Nikki, who was back at their home in Juneau, Alaska. She dropped what she was doing and immediately hopped on a series of connecting flights that brought her to the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Despite nearly 2,000 miles separating the two the day of the incident, Nikki made it to Steamboat Springs the next day and was there for Mike after a surgery for his fibula and ankle on Wednesday, June 15.
“This town is amazing in the amount of people coming out to support us,” said Nikki, who added that locals have offered her and her husband places to stay and helped ship boxes back home to Alaska.
Mike and Nikki are not sure how long they’ll be in town. Mike underwent a second surgery on his clavicle and scapula on Friday, June 17, and it’s uncertain how much time it’ll take him to recover enough to get home.
As for the driver who hit Mike, no suspects have been identified, and the Olsens want to encourage people to keep an eye out for a maroon vehicle with damage to the front passenger side.
A spokesperson for Colorado State Patrol said authorities don’t have any suspects or leads yet. A few pieces of the vehicle were recovered from the scene and taken into evidence, but investigators were unable to match them to any specific make or model.
Mike said he hopes he can ride his bike again and perhaps see more of Steamboat than his small view through the hospital window. At the moment, he’s not sure if that will be a possibility.
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at spowell@SteamboatPilot.com
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