Picabo Street case set for trial
A May trial date has been scheduled for former Olympic downhill skier Picabo Street, who is facing misdemeanor charges stemming from allegations that she pushed her 76-year old father down two flights of stairs and locked him in the basement.
Street, 44, of Park City, appeared in 3rd District Court in Summit County on Tuesday. Wearing a white and black polka dot blouse covered by a black blazer, her long, straight hair and composed appearance was a stark contrast to her mugshot, which shows her in a gray t-shirt with disheveled hair.
Street appeared alone and was ushered into the courtroom by her attorney, Joe Wrona. She never spoke during the hearing.
The former athlete is charged with misdemeanor assault and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, both Class B misdemeanors. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine upon conviction.
Street waived her right to a jury trial after denying a plea deal for first-time offenders. The case will now go to trial before a judge on May 3. She plans to argue self-defense and defense of others at trial, Wrona said.
"No one wants to really talk about everything that happened that morning and no one wants to really consider the fact that Picabo Street is not only a former champion skier she is a current champion family care provider," Wrona said after the hearing. "She takes care of three kids all on her own and her elderly parents all on her own. As her dad’s condition is slipping and deteriorating and he becomes combative, she is doing her best to handle that. Let us all remember it was Picabo Street who called 911 on the morning in question."
On Dec. 23, 2015, Street was arrested at her home in the Silver Summit neighborhood she shares with her children and parents. Street called dispatch after she had locked her father, Roland, in the basement when the fight turned physical in front of her three children.
According to a probable cause statement, Street’s father told deputies that the altercation began when he was leaving the home and he "bumped" his car into the house. The statement says Street grabbed his shoulder/neck and pushed him down the stairs after she claims he pulled her hair. The arresting deputy noted several cuts on Roland’s elbow and neck.
Wrona said Ronald’s health is deteriorating as he continues to suffer from long-term diabetes and becomes increasingly combative with Picabo, who serves as a caregiver to both of her parents.
"We have filed papers in court stating that we are going to demonstrate that Picabo really didn’t have a choice on the morning in question and she had to take the action that she did," Wrona said. "They offered a plea and the county always does that. I’m not impeaching them for doing it because that’s what they do, but we have no interest in it. She’s going to get acquitted.
"Picabo Street is innocent today and, unless she is convicted, she will always be innocent," Wrona said.
The court also admonished Wrona after comments that he had made publicly prior to the hearing.
"It is this court’s intention that this case is tried in this court and not in the media and not in the court of public opinion," Judge Shauna Kerr said. "I believe there has already been too much said and accordingly I am encouraging everyone to govern yourselves accordingly."
The hall of famer skier made her mark in the sport after she won the silver medal in the 1994 Winter Olympics and the gold medal in the super-G in the 1998 Winter Olympics, in addition to a string of World Championships.
Street spent more than 10 years on the U.S. Ski team, served as the national spokesperson for the National Children’s Alliance and as director of skiing for Park City Mountain Resort before retiring in 2002, as previously reported in the Park Record.
She has lived in Park City for several years and has three children.
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$1 million in CARES Act funding has been set aside for Summit County nonprofits, and the Park City Community Foundation is working to organize the fund and how to choose recipients. The goal is to start accepting applications Oct. 14.