Growth and development, newcomers and Mile High rent dominated much of the conversation in the city in 2015. But there were also lighter, funnier and just plain weirder stories, too. Here are some of our favorite strange but true events involving planes, trains and automobiles. Find the rest of our Year in Review in print this week and on our blog.
Denver International Airport has a lot of baggage when it comes to baggage, so it’s understandable that the airport was a little sensitive in January after several weeks of baggage-handling problems by United Airlines. In fact, the situation got so dire that DIA CEO Kim Day offered some personal assistance, according to news reports. We assume that doesn’t mean she was going to carry the luggage by hand, but it was a nice offer, nonetheless.
Do you hate parking downtown? So do the two people who got into an epic battle over a spot in September — a battle that was caught on video and later went viral. The crux of the situation was that a woman was standing in a parking spot in Larimer Square, trying to save it for someone, and another woman was trying to nudge her out of the way with her car as she attempted to parallel park in the place. Best quote: “Are you going to physically run me over?”
The Transportation Security Administration fired two Denver International Airport screeners in April, saying they had teamed up in an effort to fondle male passengers going through the security checkpoint. “One of the screeners, a man, signaled to a female colleague when a man he found attractive was coming through the scanning machine,” according to a story in the Denver Post. “The woman then pressed a touchscreen button indicating that the man being screened was actually a woman, according to a Denver police report of the allegations. The scanner then alerted screeners that it had found an oddity in the area of the genitals, triggering a physical pat-down of the passenger’s groin, the police report said.”
A lighted pedestrian-crossing signal in Fort Collins malfunctioned in a particularly hilarious and offensive way last March, leaving only a single middle finger upturned. The red hand in the stop signal was fixed as soon as the city was alerted to the situation.
A Boulder man called police in July after another motorist followed him home and threw a baked good at his vehicle. The first man acknowledged that he drives “aggressively” and may have cut off the other driver in traffic. According to news reports, the baked good was a pecan pie, which hit the trunk of the first man’s car; some of it also got on the window. The fight escalated from there before the second man finally left.
Frontier Airlines (which now charges a fee if you sneeze on one of its planes) began bragging about a new computer system for reservations and check-in in March, just before customers began complaining about hours-long waits on the phone, long check-in lines and other problems. Things got so bad by May that a federal survey tracking customer complaints ranked Frontier last, by a staggering margin, among the nation’s thirteen largest carriers. CEO Dave Siegel resigned that month.
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Aspen Police Department
Disgraced former cycling star Lance Armstrong has been dating Coloradan Anna Hansen since 2008 and fathered her two children, which means he’s unfortunately been spending a lot of time in our state. On one recent visit, Armstrong’s SUV hit two parked cars in Aspen. Police found Hansen on the scene when they arrived, but eventually accused Armstrong — who cheated with performance-enhancing drugs in order to win seven Tour de France victories — of having been behind the wheel. In fact, they believed Armstrong left the scene before officers arrived so that Hansen could take the fall, thereby avoiding further damage to Armstrong’s reputation. They were right: Armstrong pleaded guilty in February and paid a fine by mail, but federal investigators who are still examining Armstrong are now using the Aspen incident to try to reopen an effort to make Hansen testify in a $100 million fraud case that they have filed against the athlete.