Steamboat Springs Editor's note: This story has been corrected from its original version. Steamboat Springs police do not know whether Bob Bear had the walk signal when he attempted to cross U.S. Highway 40. Also, police did not take Terry Tomey's driving or criminal history into consideration when deciding what traffic citation to issue. Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said prosecuting attorneys could consider that history when deciding on plea offers, and judges can use it when deciding on sentencing. Police investigators, however, take only the facts of the case into consideration when deciding on charges, Rae said.
Steamboat Springs Police Department officers issued Craig resident Terry Tomey a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian with disabilities Wednesday, after Tomey struck Robert "Bob" Bear with his pickup May 6.
Bear died later that day from injuries sustained hitting his head on the road.
Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Joel Rae said the Class A traffic infraction carries a six-point driving penalty and $150 in fines if Tomey is found guilty in municipal court. The charge also carries a mandatory appearance in that court.
Tomey, 48, was driving a company truck at the time of the accident and on Wednesday said he had a perfect driving record for the past two years with the company. Tomey's boss could not be reached Wednesday night.
"I'm not a monster. I didn't go and try to run down a schoolteacher. It was a complete accident," he said.
Tomey owned and operated the Windy City Dogs and Beef hotdog stand in Craig with his wife for three years.
Tomey was issued a ticket Wednesday morning. He said he laid flowers at the site of the accident.
The charge comes as a relief for Annie Meyer, Bear's daughter and a Steamboat resident.
"I was really glad that they did actually issue him a ticket because I thought for a while perhaps they wouldn't do that," she said.
Meyer said her father used a cane, a remnant of a stroke that Bear, 77, suffered 20 years ago. Bear recovered from the stroke well enough to walk, but Meyer said he still found the intersection at U.S. Highway 40 and Pine Grove Road daunting. On May 6, Bear was returning from the Yampa River Botanic Park to his home in the Selbe Apartments.
"He walked very slowly, but he's very alert, and he had figured out a way to cross the street by pushing the button and going to the edge of the street," she said. "It's kind of a dangerous intersection, and he really felt like he had to have a plan to make it across the street."
Even so, Meyer said, anyone crossing that intersection at that time would have been hit.
"I can't understand. The accident happened because (Tomey) didn't look right, why isn't that reckless driving?" she asked. "Anybody in that spot would have been killed."
Rae said there is no evidence that either Tomey or Bear was using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
Police report that Tomey was eastbound on U.S. 40 and came to a complete stop at the red light. When he began rolling forward to begin a right turn, he struck Bear, knocking him to the ground. Although the force of the vehicle's impact was not great, Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Bear's fall to the ground caused internal bleeding and brain injury.