After driving an SUV into two parked vehicles following a night of partying, Lance Armstrong let his girlfriend take the blame in order to avoid national attention, according to police records, as Sadie Gurman reports for Associated Press in an article appearing on the Charlotte Observer. AP writes:
Aspen police cited Armstrong with failing to report an accident and speeding weeks after the Dec. 28 accident, but only after his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, admitted to lying for him.
Hansen initially told police that she lost control of Armstrong’s GMC Yukon on icy roads while driving home from the Aspen Art Museum, AP writes. Hansen said she was driving because “Lance had a little bit to drink,” according to reports.
Right after the late-night car accident, Hansen ran through the snow in high heels, toward the two vehicles Armstrong had hit, apologizing to a homeowner whose in-laws had been renting the damaged vehicles, as Jesse Paul writes for The Denver Post. Paul quotes the homeowner:
‘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.
Hansen told the man that she and Armstrong “would pay for everything” and left her name and number before she and Armstrong left the scene, Paul writes.
After the man Hansen spoke with called 911 to report a “hit and run,” an investigator reviewed a surveillance video from the hotel where the event was held, the St. Regis Aspen Resort, Paul writes. The video showed Armstrong getting into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and leaving, which the valet also corroborated.
At first, when confronted with discrepancies in the story, Hansen told police that she and Armstrong had switched places after leaving the hotel, and that she was driving when the crash took place, Paul writes. But on Dec. 31, Hansen, accompanied by her lawyer, went to the Pitkin County courthouse and admitted that she had been the passenger that night and that Armstrong had been driving when the crashes happened, Paul writes.
Paul quotes Hansen:
‘We’ve had our family name smeared over every paper in the world in the last couple of years and honestly, I’ve got teenagers, I just wanted to protect my family because I thought, “Gosh, Anna Hansen hit some cars, it’s not going to show up in the papers, but Lance Armstrong hit some cars, it’s going to be a national story,” ‘ Hansen told investigators.
Paul writes that Hansen has not been charged. Armstrong, 43, could face jail time and fines if convicted, Paul writes. Failure to report an accident is a misdemeanor that can be punished with up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $150 to $300, AP writes. The infraction “driving too fast for conditions” is punishable by a fine of $15 to $100, AP adds. Armstrong’s 1999-2005 Tour de France winning titles were stripped from him after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reported his use of performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong has a home in Aspen, according to an article by Matt Majendie for CNN.
Image by Richard Masoner