Trial in death of cyclist set for October

Charged with class four felony

By Mark Reaman

A jury trial in Gunnison County District Court has been scheduled for late October for Chuck Cliggett of Crested Butte who is charged in the death of bicyclist Mitch Hoffman. A disposition hearing was held on Friday, June 2, and Cliggett’s attorney, Ryan Brackley, indicated that Cliggett would be pleading not guilty to the charges which include vehicular homicide-reckless driving and improperly passing a bicycle on the left. The first charge is a class four felony that carries a presumptive sentence of two-to-six years in prison. The second charge is a traffic infraction.

Cliggett, 73, was driving south on Highway 135 about 12:30 p.m. on November 7, 2022 when he allegedly struck the 71-year-old Hoffman who was riding a road bike heading south on the highway near Crested Butte South at mile marker 21. Both Cliggett and Hoffman are long-time residents of Crested Butte.

While the trial initially was expected to begin in September, scheduling conflicts led to the setting for the five-day trial on October 30 at 9 a.m. The attorneys said they expect the trial to last at least three days, so five days were set aside for the proceeding.

Given that Cliggett is an attorney who has practiced in the 7th Judicial District for decades, the judges of that court recused themselves from the trial. Instead, Judge Deborah Grohs from the Front Range has been selected to oversee the proceedings and the trial.

Prior to the October 30 trial, a pre-trial readiness conference will be held on October 20.

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