The Denver Post is missing a major element in its reporting on State Treasurer candidate Walker Stapleton's1999 DUI arrest, specifically that a victim's eyewitness account of the incident, reported in the Colorado Independent, directly contradicts portions of Stapleton's version of the story.
During a KBDI debate, Walker admitted that he got the DUI, according to a Spot blog post Sept. 30.
The Post reported that after the debate, Stapleton confirmed that he got the DUI after 1) a taxicab hit his vehicle and 2) he drove about a block away and pulled over. Stapleton told the Post that police dropped a hit-and-run charge after he explained to police how the accident occurred.
Then, on Friday, the Post reported that ColoradoPols posted court documents stating that Stapleton hit two pedestrians and tried to drive away from the scene of the accident.
San Francisco police told The Spot Friday that the court documents were at least partially wrong, that no pedestrians were involved, but the police wouldn't elaborate further.
Other details about the case, including 1) if the taxicab hit Stapleton's car or if Stapleton ran a light and hit the cab and 2) whether Stapleton tried to drive away and was stopped, could be revealed in the police report, which Stapleton has requested, according to the Post. The Colorado Independent has reported that the charges indicate that Stapleton may have been using other drugs.
Trouble is, we already know from a story in the Independent on Monday that one victim's version of the story contradicts portions of Stapleton's, and the Post hasn't reported this in yesterday's story on the topic or in Friday's piece.
On Monday, the Colorado Independent published an interview with a woman who was in the taxicab involved in Stapleton's crash. She was one of two victims listed in court documents.
The Independent reported that she was in the taxicab and saw Stapleton's car run a red light and hit the cab. It also quoted the victim saying:
"When the cab stopped spinning, I looked out the window and saw his jeep or whatever, a big car, pull to the side of the road down the hill. Then I saw his car start to move again. He was going to leave but two cabs came up the road- I think it was two cabs- they blocked him in. One went in front of him and the other went behind him, so he couldn't drive away."
(The name of the victim is not a secret, but Independent reporter John Tomasic told me the victim asked him not to use it, so he didn't.)
I emailed Post reporter Tim Hoover and asked if he tried to contact the woman who was in the cab that Walker Stapleton allegedly hit. I also asked, if he hadn't been able to reach her, why, in reporting on the topic, he didn't at least refer to the Colorado Independent's interview with her.
The victim's version of the story is critical, because it partially corroborates the court documents and it provides an important perspective for voters who are trying to figure out whether to believe Stapleton's story. A victim is a totally legitimate source for voters to hear from. If she has a hazy recollection of the incident, which does not appear to be the case, then the Post could simply report this.
I did not immediately hear back from Hoover.