Police identify man hit by car in Steamboat Springs
Off-and-on resident Rick Hagberg remains in critical condition
February 9, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Police said the man struck by a car Friday while crossing U.S. Highway 40 at Walton Creek Road is Steamboat Springs resident William R. Hagberg.
The driver, Nancy G. Graves, of Steamboat, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular assault. Graves, 68, was released from jail Monday on a $5,000 bond after appearing in Routt County District Court.
Hagberg, 51, remains in critical condition at Denver Health Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said Monday.
Hagberg was married to the late Patty Brenner Hagberg, who was killed in July 1991 after being struck by a truck while jogging along Spring Creek Road, her brother Ken Brenner said Monday. The annual Spring Creek Memorial trail run is in Patty Brenner Hagberg's memory.
After friends of Hagberg's heard what happened, they contacted Brenner to get in touch with Hagberg's parents in Boylston, Mass. His parents declined to comment about the accident when reached by telephone Monday.
Hagberg, who everyone knew as "Rick," returned to Steamboat in late fall and worked part-time at Old Town Hot Springs in exchange for a membership, Brenner said. He said Hagberg worked in construction and carpentry, and he is a photographer.
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Brenner said they first met in the late 1970s when Hagberg started working at the Beyond Repair ski shop in Ski Time Square, which Brenner helped to manage. Brenner said Hagberg is a nice man who knew how to have fun.
"He was known on the ski hill as being a pretty wild freestyle skier, taking a big jump and not being afraid of the landing," Brenner said.
Brenner said Hagberg and his sister got married in 1989. Since then, Brenner said, he's spoken with Hagberg on and off, and a couple of times since he returned to Steamboat.
Hagberg, who Brenner said split time between Steamboat and the Roaring Fork Valley, was well-liked and had a lot of friends in town who were excited to see him back in the valley.
Graves moved to Routt County more than 10 years ago to volunteer for The Nature Conservancy and as a hospice volunteer. Reached Monday evening, she said left her home at Routt County roads 14 and 22 at about 5:45 p.m. Friday to watch the Olympic Send-off in downtown Steamboat. After turning from Colorado Highway 131 onto U.S. 40, she drove "within the speed limit, or slightly under" toward a green light at Walton Creek Road.
"Out of nowhere a guy started to run out in front of my car," she said. "Obviously, I started to brake as fast as I could. The rest is history. I got out of the car right away and held his hand."
Graves said a passer-by, a retired emergency medical technician, waited with her and Hagberg until an ambulance arrived.
She admitted to having two drinks before leaving her home. Graves said she told police she drank two glasses of wine, but on Monday, she said she actually had two vodka drinks with fruit juice, either mango punch or peach.
Graves also said it was dark Friday night and that Hagberg was wearing black clothing.
Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Nick Bosick has said the light was green for Graves and that he doesn't think Hagberg, who was in the crosswalk when he was struck by Graves' car, had a signal alerting him that it was safe to walk.
According to the police affidavit for warrantless detention after the collision, police officers reported smelling alcohol on Graves' breath and noticed that her balance was poor. It stated that officers performed a roadside sobriety test "to which she performed consistent with a person under the influence of alcohol."
She was asked to and later submitted a blood test at Yampa Valley Medical Center. Bosick said it could take as long as four weeks to get the results.
The affidavit stated that Hagberg was crossing U.S. 40 at 6:17 p.m. when he was struck by a 2008 Subaru Forester driven by Graves.
Witnesses said they saw Hagberg walking across U.S. 40 at a "normal pace" and watched the vehicle collide with him at an "estimated 45 mph," the affidavit stated. It stated that the witnesses "did not observe Graves' vehicle slow down or swerve in an attempt to prevent the collision."
Bosick has said that the collision sent Hagberg 83 feet from the point of impact and that he suffered full-body injuries. Hagberg was treated at YVMC before he was flown to Denver Health while unconscious and on life support, the affidavit stated. It stated that Hagberg suffered from bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissue that covers the brain, a fractured skull, bruised lungs and a ruptured bladder.
"Like all of us, I hope he pulls through," Graves said. "It's a real tragedy that shouldn't have happened."
Graves is scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. March 24.