Dan Fegan, a well-known sports agent, was killed Sunday morning after the rental vehicle he was driving was struck by a RFTA bus near Highway 82 and the Smith Road intersection, Pitkin County Coroner Eric Hansen has confirmed. Hansen said Fegan owned a home in the area.
The fatal accident that temporarily shut down the highway was likely unavoidable, according Dan Blankenship, RFTA’s chief operating officer. The Colorado State Patrol is conducting an investigation at an intersection that Hansen said is among the area’s most dangerous, noting that over the years there have been “many” deaths here.
“People think they can beat the bus there,” said Hansen, who added it has been the location of “at least 10 close calls” recently but on a daily basis is a place where people regularly attempt hazardous crossings.
The RFTA bus driver was not ticketed “nor do I believe he will be cited,” Blankenship said. “Based on everything we know, there’s nothing our bus operator could have done to avoid the accident.”
Fegan, 56, who Bleacherreport.com called an NBA “super agent” was one of three occupants in the rental vehicle, according to Blankenship. Aspen Valley Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Slaughter could not be reached for comment Sunday about the passengers in the vehicle, nor the condition of the sole bus occupant.
The accident occurred at the Smith Road intersection downvalley from Highway 82 and the Snowmass Village turnoff, and slowed traffic operations for several hours. The bus, which was part of the BRT (bus rapid transit) service, had made a stop at the intercept lot before heading downvalley where it encountered the car in its path.
“As it approached the intersection with Smith Road, a vehicle pulled out in front of it. The bus driver was unable to avoid the collision because he had virtually no time to react to a vehicle pulling out in front of him,” Blankenship said. The result was what he agreed was “a T-bone effect” to the car. Trooper Gabe Easton of CSP initially confirmed at 10:38 a.m. that a “single male party” was deceased due to injuries sustained in the crash.
After impact, it appears the SUV spun and landed in the grassy area within the median separating the upvalley and downvalley traffic lanes. The bus traveled between 50 to 75 yards beyond where the car came to rest, according to Blankenship.
“The bus operator is quite shaken up by the collision,” he said. The driver has at least two years of experience with RFTA and possibly as much as four years of employment, he said.
Aspen Daily News photographer Craig Turpin, who was on the scene at 9:26 a.m., shortly after the crash occurred, described road conditions on Highway 82 at the time as wet with patches of snow and slush.
In 2017, RFTA transported more than 5.5 million passengers, though about 300,000 of that total was directly connected to the Grand Avenue Bridge closure. While “accidents of varying degrees of severity occur on somewhat of a regular basis, especially in the winter when things are slippery or the bus racks are involved with a fixed object,” serious accidents are not common relative to the passenger volume. On Jan. 1, 2012, a pedestrian who was walking in the bus lane near the airport was struck and killed. And in October 2013, a RFTA driver swerved to miss a slow moving tractor in the bus lane, resulting in six passengers being ejected from the bus. A jury found the driver 50 percent negligent for the accident and a settlement for legal expenses was recently paid out to two of those injured.
Blankenship said “We have everyone in our thoughts and prayers.”