Colorado skier tracks down alleged hit-and-run snowboarder on social media, sues over catastrophic injuries

A private investigator was easily able to track down the snowboarder's social media accounts in which he wore the same gear in stories taken in Aspen around the time of the accident, according to the lawsuit. (Provided by Michael Fox)

A snowboarder who fled after allegedly plowing into an Aspen skier and leaving her crumpled in the snow before months of physical therapy, was identified using his social media presence and distinctive gear, according to a lawsuit. 

Anne Cassidy, a mother of four and an "expert skier" familiar with Aspen Mountain, said she was chatting in plain sight on her skis with a friend beside the unloading area of the Gent's Ridge Lift Feb. 24. Unbeknownst to them, a snowboarder offloading from a nearby gondola was careening toward them. 

Without warning, the snowboarder, who Fox News Digital has elected not to name because he is not facing criminal charges, "slammed into Ms. Cassidy, clipping her from behind," the lawsuit states.

"Ms. Cassidy, who was in shock, felt twisting in her knees and sudden and extreme pain in her legs," the suit, filed in Pitkin County District Court this month, states. "Ms. Cassidy’s knees crumbled like a lawn chair."


A photo taken by a good Samaritan Feb. 24 after Anne Cassidy was allegedly slammed into by this snowboarder. Photos taken by another skier who gave chase after the snowboarder didn't stop were integral to identifying the mystery runaway rider. (Provi

According to the lawsuit, the snowboarder "saw Cassidy writhing on the ground in pain and decided to flee ... regained his balance on his board and quickly started riding away."

The snowboarder is accused of riding about 40 yards down the hill to a group of about five other riders as he allegedly abandoned the accident. 

Cassidy's friend gave chase on her skis. 

"[Cassidy's friend] screamed at [the snowboarder] that he needed to wait for ski patrol, saying something to the effect of, ‘Hey, STOP!!! You hit someone!’" the suit says. "[The snowboarder] admitted to [the woman] that he couldn’t control his turns on the snowboard by saying something to the effect of ‘What do you expect? I couldn’t stop; I was on a snowboard.’"

When the woman returned to her injured friend, a good Samaritan skier pursued the snowboarder, asking, "You hurt someone; don't you want to make sure she's OK?" The good Samaritan is quoted in the suit stating that the snowboarder had a "foreign accent."


Aspen Mountain staff reviewed lift footage in the time frame of the crash and found a rider wearing the same gear in this and other frames. The rider's RFID ticket identified him, and he is named as a defendant in Cassidy's lawsuit. (Provided by Mich

The hit-and-run snowboarder allegedly told the man to "mind [his] own business" and said he was "going to hurt [him] if he kept following him." 

But the skier took a photo of the snowboarder on his phone to file a report with Aspen Mountain. That photo would prove to be a crucial tool for identifying the unknown rider. 

Cassidy was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, and according to the lawsuit, she suffered "an ACL and MCL tear in her right knee, a medial root injury to her right knee, a torn meniscus in her right knee, an ACL tear in her left knee, a shoulder injury, and an injury to her right hand."

The suit said Cassidy needed crutches for eight weeks, wasn't clear to drive for nine weeks and is still undergoing "extensive" physical therapy.


A private investigator was easily able to track down the snowboarder's social media accounts in which he wore the same gear in stories taken in Aspen around the time of the accident, according to the lawsuit. (Provided by Michael Fox)

Generally an "avid athlete" who runs half-marathons, the woman claims she is unable to participate in any sports, regularly experiences pain in her knees upon movement or strain and "has not been able to take care of her family as she typically is able to."

Regular activities like dressing and bathing have become difficult, her range of motion is now limited and she allegedly experiences PTSD-like symptoms. 

"This case is about skier safety awareness," Cassidy's attorney, Michael Fox, told Fox News Digital. "Skier hit-and-runs are up across the state of Colorado, Aspen included. It needs to be known that you can’t ski into someone, cause obvious injury and then ski away. It’s common sense and the law."

Initially filed March 20, Cassidy's lawsuit referred to the runaway snowboarder as "John Doe." But an amended complaint named the man and detailed mountain staff and private investigators' efforts to track him down. 

The rider can be seen wearing the same Von Zipper goggles as the hit-and-run snowboarder. (Provided by Michael Fox)

When staff members at Aspen Mountain were unable to track the snowboarder down after getting help for the woman, they turned to footage from their ski lifts, according to the suit. They found a snowboarder with the same gear as the man in the good Samaritan's photo — black ski pants; a black ski jacket; a white, gray and black liner or neck gator; a black Burton snowboard with a neon bottom and distinctive white Von Zipper goggles with red lenses.

The snowboarder got onto the lift about five minutes before Cassidy was hit around 12:05 p.m. Each rider on the mountain has an RFID code on his ticket to walk through onto the lift, and the snowboarder's pass identified him as the defendant now named in the lawsuit. 

Cassidy's attorney hired a private investigator, who tracked the man down to Astoria, Queens, and called him on the phone. The suit notes that the man who answered had a "foreign accent," matching the Good Samaritan's recollection.

"Upon hearing that this was an investigator hired by Ms. Cassidy concerning a ski accident in Aspen, the person stated they were not [the hit-and-run snowboarder], but friends with [the rider]," the lawsuit states of the call. "When asked for this person's name, he responded, 'It doesn’t matter who I am.'"

Pictured is another Aspen Mountain security camera still picturing the alleged hit-and-run snowboarder. (Provided by Michael Fox)

Preliminary internet searches revealed the snowboarder's public Instagram account at the time, according to the suit.

The snowboarder posted "stories" to the account around the time of the accident in which he wore the exact same gear. 

Although ski accidents are common, Vermont personal injury attorney Roger Kohn of snow sport specific firm Kohn Raft said hit-and-run incidents are not. Typically, he said, most skiers and snowboarders are hurt in single-person accidents from falling or hitting an obstruction. 

"You don't see a lot of cases like this — usually, somebody stops," Kohn said Wednesday. "In [some] cases, someone might not realize how badly someone is injured.

"People need to ski under control. People know they're supposed to do that. [But] some people don't pay as much attention as they should," he said, noting younger skiers are often less careful on the slopes. "If they hit somebody, they should stop. People don't realize that your homeowner's insurance will provide you with some protection.

A snowboarder is pictured at Aspen Mountain (Kevin Moloney/Liaison)

"I give credit to this lawyer who created methods to locate this guy with the cameras."

Kohn said he could not think of a ski accident case where criminal charges were filed, and that it would be up to area prosecutors to determine whether a crime had been committed. 

Jim Chalat, a Denver-based personal injury attorney who handles accidents on the slopes, told The Colorado Sun his firm is "seeing a significant increase in hit-and-run accidents."

"I find it really disturbing because the sheriff's departments in ski counties either do not have the resources, or they do not have the interest in locating these hit-and-run perpetrators," he told the outlet.

One of Chalat's clients, who sustained a broken jaw and broken wrist, was allegedly told by a Summit County deputy that the department had "never caught a hit-and-run person," according to the outlet.

Cassidy's lawsuit accuses the Queens man of negligence, saying he didn't live up to his responsibility to keep watch for downhill skiers and to share his information with Cassidy or Aspen Ski Patrol after the accident. He admitted he was snowboarding outside his ability when he said he "could not stop because he was on a board," according to the lawsuit. 

The Aspen woman is suing for her medical expenses and "expects to amend her complaint to add punitive damages" for her suffering.

Fox News Digital could not reach the defendant at a number listed for him or on social media. Aspen Skiing Company could not be immediately reached for comment on the lawsuit.

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