A sheriff’s deputy investigating a recent party attended by Aspen High students that apparently got out of hand found a trace amount of a possible hard drug in a bathroom, while a student who was found vomiting in the venue’s parking lot was issued a summons, the latest incident to rattle parents worried about students using drugs and alcohol.
A school club called H20 rented, apparently with the help of a parent, Bumps restaurant at Buttermilk on March 7 for a fundraiser. The Aspen Skiing Co. owns the restaurant and leased it with the understanding that chaperones would be attending.
But after 80 or so students arrived, restaurant managers noticed there were no adults and began do their own walk-throughs to ensure student safety, they told Pitkin County deputies.
Around 10:30 p.m., the employees found an intoxicated young female in the women’s bathroom and called authorities, according to deputy reports released Friday. They are heavily redacted because of the ages of students with whom police spoke. Some parents’ names are also redacted to protect students’ identities.
Deputy Anthony Todaro said that as he arrived at Bumps, several people were leaving, and he observed “a female vomiting out the passenger window of a silver Lexus SUV parked directly beside me.” He stopped the vehicle as it tried to drive away and found that the driver was sober. The sick student, however, was taken to jail and issued a summons for allegedly being a minor in possession of alcohol. She was found to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.119, above the legal limit to drive of 0.08.
Police were also called to the party on a report of minors possibly using illegal substances, the report says, and Brad Gibson, chief of investigations, returned the next morning for another walk-through. Inside a stall in the women’s bathroom was a sanitary disposal receptacle with a small paper bag in it, Gibson wrote.
“Inside the bag was a smaller ZipLoc plastic bag commonly used to hold illicit drugs,” his report says. “I later looked closely inside the plastic bag and saw white grains of some type inside.”
He also found an empty, liter-sized bottle of Svedka vodka, the same brand the girl in the bathroom told a SkiCo employee said she had been drinking. Gibson reviewed surveillance footage.
“At one point there were five kids … standing in front of the video camera,” he wrote. “The kids were drinking from what appears to be a Sprite or 7-Up bottle. … Several of the kids stopped to admire the bottle after drinking [its] contents. The manner in which the group shared the contents of the bottle is not what I would expect if the liquid inside was soda.”
Jeff Hanle, the SkiCo’s vice president of communications, said Friday that the company mandates chaperones be present for any event involving underaged attendees.
“The manager observed inappropriate behavior downstairs and called the sheriff,” he said. “It’s now in their hands.”
Deputies interviewed one of the planners of the party, an Aspen High student who said the contract to lease Bumps did not require a police presence. A sheriff’s deputy who is the father of a student had agreed to chaperone, but had to cancel because of a training, a report says (the deputy is not being named so as to protect his daughter’s identity).
“She told me that they didn’t find anyone else as a chaperone, [and] they ‘just went with the flow,’” wrote deputy Quinton Wheatley, though she said her parents arrived later and helped with cleanup. “She told me she did not see any other alcohol use but did say that she heard rumors of alcohol and drug use at the party, specifically cocaine use.”
The teen said she was disappointed in the students who drank at the party because it was inappropriate behavior for a fundraiser.
Two parents interviewed by police said “they are concerned that the culture of the school is so focused around alcohol, and they were shocked to hear about reported cocaine use,” the deputy wrote.