Arrest made in Emerald Mountain trailhead vandalism case
Steamboat Springs — A 22-year-old Steamboat Springs man who was sitting in jail after a DUI crash Wednesday night has admitted to causing the thousands of dollars worth of damage to the Emerald Mountain trailhead project.
Charles C. Enger faces a charge of felony criminal mischief.
On Thursday morning, it was discovered that the new bathroom facility at the work site had been rammed by a bulldozer, and a skid steer had been overturned in the middle of the new parking lot.
The total damage was estimated at between $80,000 and $100,000.
The Ridge trailhead improvement project is a partnership between the city of Steamboat Springs and the Bureau of Land Management and was funded, in part, by lodging tax dollars voters approved to spend on local trail improvements.
After investigating the crime scene, Routt County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kurtis Luster learned Enger had been arrested on suspicion of DUI by the Colorado State Patrol after a rollover crash near mile marker three on Routt County Road 129.
Luster looked at Enger’s shoes and the tires on his pickup and found they matched tracks found at the crime scene, according to an arrest affidavit.
Luster then interviewed Enger.
“He detailed being intoxicated and searching for the keys to the equipment,” the affidavit states. “When locating the keys, he drove each piece of equipment, causing damage to the parking lot, the ski load and driving the CAT dozer into the walls of the newly placed outhouse bathroom facility, causing significant damage.”
Enger said he then left the area and crashed on C.R. 129.
The construction project was a day away from being completed and is on BLM property.
BLM Project Engineer Gordon Gardunio said Friday that completing the project is the responsibility of the contractor, who will work with its insurance company to recover losses. If found guilty, Enger could ultimately be held responsible for the damages.
Gardunio said they need to order a new bathroom building and pour a new slab. Depending on weather, it could now be spring before the entire project is completed.
“We’re still trying to figure out how we can get it pulled off, but we definitely need to get it done,” Gardunio said.
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