Summit County files motion to dismiss assault charges against Picabo Street
March 25, 2016
Summit County prosecutors are dropping the assault and domestic violence charges against former Olympic downhill skier Picabo Street, who was arrested in December after she allegedly pushed her 76-year old father down two flights of stairs.
The motion, filed on Thursday by Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Ivy Telles, said the state has discovered additional witness statements and based on those statements, "the state believes that this case would be more appropriately handled in a civil or administrative forum by Utah’s Adult and Aging Services Division."
Matt Bates, chief prosecutor for Summit County, said the motion will likely be signed within the next couple of days, adding that he doesn’t see any reason why it won’t be granted. Bates said the county attorney’s office will not comment on the case beyond that.
Street, 44, of Park City, was charged with misdemeanor assault and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, both Class B misdemeanors, according to court documents.
Street was arrested on Dec. 23, 2015, at her home in the Silver Summit neighborhood, which she shared 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.
"When I called the police for help with my dad last December, I expected the police to be my knights in shining armor," Street said in a statement through her attorney, Joe Wrona. "Instead, they came into my house, arrested me and put me in handcuffs when I did nothing wrong. The next thing I knew, an embarrassing photograph of me that had been taken at the local jail was circulating the Internet."
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In February, Street appeared in 3rd District Court in Summit County and waived her right to a jury trial after denying a plea deal for first-time offenders. A trial date was set for May.
"We said we want a trial right now at that hearing and we were prepared to go the next day," Wrona said. "Picabo had the courage to waive a jury trial because she was so convinced in the righteousness of her case, but the county attorney’s office said they weren’t ready.
"The same line of prosecutors who had been bragging on the air were now backpedaling and trying to push the trial off for months," Wrona said. "They painted themselves into a corner by making the decision to prosecute and then going very public with it and didn’t know how to back out of it."
According to Wrona, the case lacked the basic evidence to support prosecuting Street. He added that he took a "calculated risk" by pointing out those weaknesses to Summit County Attorney Robert Hilder.
"I think after he got involved he was able to bring some wisdom and maturity to the county attorney’s side and I think that at that point the county attorney’s office exercised proper discretion," Wrona said. "It became obvious to anyone that Picabo’s father was in an altered state of mind due to his diabetic condition."
Wrona has said Roland’s health is deteriorating as he continues to suffer from long-term diabetes. He further claimed that Street tried to place him in an assisted living facility in Idaho after her arrest, but he was denied admittance.
Thirty days after the charges are dropped, Street could begin the process of having her arrest and record of criminal charges expunged from her record, if she chooses. However, the case is being dismissed without prejudice, which means charges could be filed again at a later date, according to Bates.
Street made her mark in skiing 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.
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