By Keith Coffman
DISGRACED professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has been charged with crashing into two parked cars in the Colorado ski resort town of Aspen, with his girlfriend initially telling authorities that she was driving, police reports showed.
Armstrong was cited for leaving the scene of an accident and driving too fast for the snowy conditions in the late December incident, authorities said. No one was injured in the accident.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by the US Anti-Doping Agency after he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.
Aspen police said the 43-year-old Armstrong and his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, were driving home from a fundraising event to benefit a local art museum when a GMC Yukon registered to Armstrong crashed into two parked cars.
A man who had been renting one of the damaged cars told a police detective that Hansen came running up to his house in high heels, apologising and promising to pay for the repairs.
“She said, ‘I’m Anna, we’re the Armstrongs, my husband’s Lance, he was just driving maybe too fast around the corner or something,'” the man told police, according to the reports.
He called 911 to report a hit-and-run. Hansen and Armstrong left the scene before police arrived, but Hansen left her contact information with him, police said.
When police arrived at the home Armstrong and Hansen share, the officer noted the Yukon had “significant damage,” the report said.
When questioned by police, Hansen, 33, said she had been driving because “Lance had a little bit to drink,” and that she lost control of the vehicle on the icy road, the report said.
The officer was suspicious of her story and checked with the valet at the hotel where the event was held, who said Armstrong was behind the wheel when the couple left the parking lot.
Police confronted Hansen about the discrepancy in the story, and she ultimately admitted that Armstrong had been driving, and the couple made a “joint decision” to say she was driving to avoid publicity, the report said.
Pitkin County prosecutor Andrea Bryan said by telephone that Hansen was not charged for filing a false report because authorities encourage witnesses to be truthful.
“If we charged people who come forward, we would rarely get information from witnesses,” she said.
A message left for Armstrong’s attorney, Pamela Mackey, was not immediately returned. Armstrong is due in court on March 17, court records showed.