VAIL, Colo. — A man was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in a parking area near the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail.
Officers with the Vail Police Department responded on June 9 to a report of a disturbance on E. Meadow Drive near the Mountain Haus in Vail Village. Once they arrived, they found a Volvo sedan stopped in front of a portable anti-vehicle barrier that had been placed to protect pedestrians, police said.
The department’s barriers were set up in the area ahead of the GoPro Mountain Games, which ran June 7-12 in Vail. They were purchased in response to an increase of incidents where drivers plowed into crowds at events across the United States and world.
Bystanders prevented the driver from leaving the scene, police said. The department identified him as Major Lee White, 51, of Breckenridge.
When officers spoke with witnesses, they learned that the driver had collided with another vehicle and then drove toward an area where a lot of people were walking around. The driver almost struck several groups of people before stopping short of the barrier, police said.
The police department said White appeared highly intoxicated.
He faces charges of reckless driving, driving without a valid license, driving while license restrained (alcohol-related), and driving under the influence.
“I believe without the barrier, it is possible that someone could have been seriously injured or killed in this incident,” said Sgt. David Dempsey, the supervisor on-duty at the time of the incident.
Police Cmdr. Justin Liffick added that this was an example of the type of threats the department prepares and takes precautions for, even if it is inconvenient for some people.
“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,” Liffick said.
This incident remains under investigation. Anybody with information is asked to contact Officer Jose Balderas or an on-duty officer via 970-479-2201 or email@example.com.