Mountain Bike Racer Charged with Felony In Leadville Race, Pleads to Misdemeanor: DA Hurlbert Drops Felony Against Wendy Lyall Under Public Pressure

Colorado Mountain bike racer, Wendy Lyall,  who used her friend’s registration  number to ride in a Leadville race last year and was charged with a felony,  appeared in court today and plead guilty to a misdemeanor trespass charge.   DA Mark Hurlbert dropped the felony criminal impersonation charge he originally filed against her, and instead Lyall will receive a deferred judgment under which she’ll be required to write a letter of apology and perform 45 hours of bicycle safety instruction.

The deferred judgment settlement represents the most lenient and speedy resolution of  the case possible, short of an outright dismissal.  It is not the type of resolution one would anticipate after the filing of a felony charge.  As we first reported, in a piece that gained national attention, this result should be considered a victory for grassroots activists and ordinary citizens to get out the message when they feel government officials are not representing them.

Mark Hurlbert himself got that message at the Colorado Republican Assembly on Friday  where his state Senate bid was quashed when he failed to qualify for the GOP primary ballot in August. Hurlbert was crushed by opponent Tim Leonard, 71 to 29 percent.

The fact remains, that a better resolution for everyone concerned could have and should have come without criminal charges.  I just finished an interview with race director, Ken Chlouber.  As we first reported, he wanted criminal charges dropped, as well as information privately conveyed to him that could help him improve security procedures at the race.  Chlouber confirmed that he knew nothing about the plea bargain until after court was over.  DA Hurlbert failed Chlouber in not securing this reasonable request, and managed to also fail Lyall, Chlouber and the public by not simply dropping criminal charges.

Hurlbert still damaged Wendy Lyall far more than this plea deal indicates because Hurlbert meted out so much  “extra-judicial” punishment before she ever stepped foot in court simply by filing unwarranted felony charges.

I don’t know Lyall, but I’ve heard from quite a few people who do know her, and  I doubt she would have needed a felony prosecution to agree to teach 45 hours of  bicycle safety.  Chlouber was very outspoken in our interview this evening, so much so that it warrants a separate article while I get out these basics about the case.

Under the deferred judgment plea, the case will be dismissed in one year as long as Lyall performs her two requirements of the apology letter and the bike safety instruction.  The record of the case is then automatically sealed and she will have no official criminal conviction or even a record of the charges.   Lyall will also be able to have the felony arrest record sealed upon application to the court and the payment of a filing fee.

Her friend, Katie Brazelton, who was injured and could not compete in the race and who gave her race packet to Lyall, faces a June 7 court appearance on a charge of  felony conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation.

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9 responses to “Mountain Bike Racer Charged with Felony In Leadville Race, Pleads to Misdemeanor: DA Hurlbert Drops Felony Against Wendy Lyall Under Public Pressure

  1. Laura, nice job on reporting this case. Much more accurate than Vail Daily’s coverage.

    You did fail to mention that Mark didn’t even show up to court yesterday. I’d love to have a job like his….throw around random felony charges and then not even show face in court. I don’t understand our legal system well but apparently you can send your assistant instead to save face.

    As for Ken, he got his media spotlight with going along with criminal felony charges. Would it have made big news had it just been a misdemeanor? He clearly set an example. Dully noted Ken. Good job for cleansing out all the (past and present) cheaters in your race. .

    At least my friend isn’t sitting in jail up in Leadville and can ride with us this week! I guess the system isn’t totally broken.

    • Amy B,

      Thank you for you nice comments. First off, the system is broken. But getting out all the publicity, and then people like you speaking out throughout Colorado and other parts of the country forced Hurlbert to back down. I still can’t figure out what Hurlbert was thinking with this prosecution. The Summit Daily just reported on it for the first time yesterday. That’s how he usually uses the mainstream media. The story becomes, “mountain biker guilty…” The real story is in fact about an abusive, power-hungry, and reckless DA and his apathy for anyone he harms along the way.

      He’s still clueless that he’s really not very popular, and is now trying to petition on to the GOP primary ballot in August. For a life-long trial lawyer, he sure doesn’t know evidence when he sees it. 79-21 percent would seem a pretty clear loss to most people. He thinks he’ll do better with a less conservative crowd in the primary. Wrong! I’ve barely touched on his awful record as a prosecutor – a record that will not go over well with either the civil liberties or the law and order crowd. The only pattern I see in his record, is the more serious the case, the softer he is on the obviously guilty and violent defendant, and the stupider the case is, the more he pursues it. I wish someone were blogging about him back when he did the snow ball prosecution and other ludicrous cases.

      Finally, would the case have made the media if originally charged as a misdemeanor? Probably not. Certainly not unless Hurlbert promoted it to his pals at the SDN. They tend not to reveal names of the accused in misdemeanor cases unless the case goes to trial.

      Mark is supposed to be at the Frisco Safeway from 3-6 today to collect signatures. It would be sweet if a bunch of mountain bikers showed up for that event.

      • Sorry, you’re right about his non-appearance in court. My legal background made me take that for granted. He’s far too important to show up at a basic court proceeding. His brilliance is saved for major jury trials or media events. Sorry about the oversight.

  2. Pingback: Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Thoughts About Cheating

  3. Laura Victoria — I am curious to read your story re: Ken…I noticed you posted on Fatty’s blog that he wanted all criminal charges dropped…

    My question is why? — he clearly wanted criminal charges pressed when he went to the Sherif. Is it now because he is simply trying to save face?? Seems like a typical politician to me.

    The org. (although it had many errors) report in the Denver Post was very biased towards Ken and the Leadville 100, yet it still said the girls wrote a letter apologizing and saying they would do anything to make it right. At this time, he could have asked to find out how the ‘crime’ went down if this is all he truly wanted!

    Ken got on his high horse….went a long way to ruining this girls lives and now he thinks he can just back track and say that he didn’t want criminal charges? Sounds fishy to me!

    BTW — Did Landis finish the leadville 100?….are the guys who came behind him who were cheated out of their rightful place going to be recognized at this years Leadville. I doubt it — that was sanctioned ‘cheating’.

  4. I assume details about Landis are noted to be above my paygrade. I’m not trying to defend Ken. But I’ve recorded what he said. I shouldn’t speculate beyond the fact that he realized a felony was overkill. Plus, he thought a misd. theft charge was appropriate, per Sheriff’s report-he has consistently opposed felony charges,

    For my part, I think any criminal charges are overkill. Maybe Ken didn’t like the publicity. Who knows? Regardless of what Ken did, the buck still stops with the elected official who (as do all prosecutors) holds the most power in crim justice system.

    I’m the only person on my blog; I’m not the Denver Post. Today was petition deadline for SOS petition deadline for our loser DA to try to still make the ballot.

    Have been on phone following that since 5 MDT. Will try to get out story tomorrow re Ken and more on travesty of dealing with what should be an intra-sport scenario as a crim law issue.

    At least Ken was willing to go on the record and be knowingly recorded. His Majesty, our elected DA that recieves $110k per year, was not. He prefers compliant local media.

    Bottom line, is that anyone can complain to a DA about some alleged wrong; buck stops with the DA as to what to do (if anything) at that point. Answer is nothing.

  5. Please use this comments forum to enlighten me as you mountain bike racing experts have, to keep this going. Katie still has a June 7 court date.

    You guys have made a real difference in the outcome for Wendy. Law is my expertise, not mountain biking, and I have the poor level of fitness to prove it:)

  6. What happened with Katie’s court appearance?

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