By Raetta Holdman
The following article is part of a series looking back at some of the biggest stories from the year in Colorado. This article focuses on news from the Denver metro area.
DENVER (CBS4) – From the troubled A Line to an interview with Burke Ramsey 20 years after the death of his sister, a number of stories kept people in the Denver metro area talking … and talking … and talking.
Driver Naps, Leave Passengers Stranded
Federal regulations left passengers on a Greyhound bus bound for Denver stranded in Salina, Kansas, in January. The driver pulled into the motel and got off, and passengers thought it would be a short stop. When he didn’t come back, passengers started calling the bus company and police. That driver was federally required to stop and rest. The problem? The backup driver had not finished his federally mandated rest hours.
Biker Expo Ends in Deadly Fight
In January, the National Western Complex hosted the Colorado Motorcycle Expo. Two motorcycle clubs got into what police described as a “territorial” dispute that quickly turned physical with dozens of people involved. Shots were fired hitting four people, and one died.
One man who fired shots was an officer with the Colorado Department of Corrections. He said a member of the other club that returned fire. No charges were filed because of what investigators called a lack of cooperation. The complex canceled the expo for 2017.
Surgical Tech Steals Painkillers From Patients
2016’s arrest of Rocky Allen raised questions about how hospitals track employees fired for stealing drugs.
Swedish Medical Center fired Allen after another employee noticed him switching syringes in the operating room. Allen, who is HIV positive, admitted to stealing the powerful painkiller fentanyl. The investigation found at least five other hospitals fired him for similar reasons. He is serving six-and-a-half years in prison.
Denver Tackles Homelessness
All throughout 2016, Denver struggled to deal with an increasing number of people living on the streets, in parks and on trails. In some cases, police actually removed the belongings of the homeless. Syringes littered the Cherry Creek Bike Path. Mayor Michael Hancock asked marijuana dispensaries to stop selling single joints. The homeless also moved into alleys and yards in people’s neighborhoods. Residents complained about trash and aggressive behavior. Denver set up a program to help the homeless find day jobs in an effort to combat the issue.
A Line A Problem
RTD opened its commuter rail line to Denver International Airport on April 22 and problems started shortly after. A train suddenly stopped on an elevated bridge, forcing passengers to walk off.
Software problems mean the train’s crossings at streets have to be manned because the gates don’t always operate properly. A lightning strike shut down services in May. A broken rail meant delays in December during sub-zero temperatures.
Concert Rattles Neighborhood
EDM group Bassnectar turned it up way past 11 when the band performed at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park over the summer. The music was so loud, people living five miles say they could not only hear the music, they could feel it. One man even compared it to an earthquake. Residents took their complaints to the city council.
Bassnectar had prompted complaints in the past. Morrison residents convinced Red Rocks to cap decibel levels to effectively ban Bassnectar at that venue.
Burke Ramsey Breaks Silence
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and for the first time, we heard from her now-adult brother Burke. Burke Ramsey sat down with Dr. Phil McGraw.
McGraw told CBS4’s Karen Leigh Burke finally decided to talk because he wanted to tell his own story. The interview with Burke and his father John Ramsey aired over three episodes of the Dr. Phil show.
The Return Of The Ski Train
Skiers and boarders are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new year and the ski train. Winter Park and Amtrak worked out a deal to run the service from Union Station to the base of the ski area. The train will use Amtrak’s Superliner double-decker cars. The train can carry more than 500 passengers and it’s possible to add even more depending on demand.