Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong charged over Colorado car crash; girlfriend initially took rap

Disgraced professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has been charged with crashing into two parked cars in the Colorado ski resort town of Aspen, with his girlfriend initially telling authorities that she was driving, police reports showed on Feb 3, 2015.
Disgraced professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has been charged with crashing into two parked cars in the Colorado ski resort town of Aspen, with his girlfriend initially telling authorities that she was driving, police reports showed on Feb 3, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

DENVER (Reuters) - Disgraced professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has been charged with crashing into two parked cars in the Colorado ski resort town of Aspen, with his girlfriend initially telling the authorities that she was driving, police reports showed on Tuesday.

Armstrong was cited for leaving the scene of an accident and driving too fast for the snowy conditions in the late December incident in the resort, the authorities said. No one was injured in the accident.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.

Aspen police said the 43-year-old Armstrong and his girlfriend, Ms Anna Hansen, were driving home from a fund-raising event to benefit a local art museum when a GMC Yukon registered to Armstrong crashed into two parked cars.

The police said an Aspen resident called 911 to report a hit and run after hearing the crash and seeing two vehicles rented by his relatives were damaged.

The man said that shortly after placing the call, Ms Hansen ran up from around a corner and apologised for hitting the vehicles, said she would pay for the damages, and left her contact information with him, the police said.

When the police arrived at the home Armstrong and Ms Hansen share, the officer noted the Yukon had "significant damage", the report said.

When questioned by the police, Ms Hansen, 33, said she had been driving because "Lance had a little bit to drink", and that she lost control of the vehicle on the icy road, the report said.

The officer was suspicious of her story and checked with the valet at the hotel where the event was held, who said Armstrong was behind the wheel when the couple left the parking lot.

The police confronted Hansen about the discrepancy in the story, and she ultimately admitted that Armstrong had been driving, and the couple made a "joint decision" to say she was driving to avoid publicity, the report said.

Pitkin County prosecutor Andrea Bryan said by telephone that Ms Hansen was not charged for filing a false report because the authorities encourage witnesses to be truthful. "If we charged people who come forward, we would rarely get information from witnesses," she said.

A message left for Armstrong's attorney, Ms Pamela Mackey, was not immediately returned. Armstrong is due in court on March 17, court records showed.