TELLER COUNTY, Colo. - Why a California couple is in the area and what started an argument between them that ended violently in the small town of Divide remained unclear Friday to the Teller County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said Lori Smith, 44, and Timothy Byrne, 45, began arguing late Thursday afternoon in a parking lot outside Russ' Place bar, near the intersection of U.S 24 and Highway 67.
"It first came to us as a report of a hit-and-run," said TCSO Cmdr. Mark Morlock. "The woman was intoxicated and several witnesses confirmed the incident."
One of the witnesses, Christa Florquist, had just finished her shift at A Wild Hair Salon and was at the bar with her husband, who is friends with Byrne.
"(Smith) suddenly shifted in reverse," Florquist said. "(Byrne) was holding on to the door. He was on the passenger side, and was caught between the door. It wasn't shut, so she dragged him, literally."
Authorities said Smith backed her SUV across an upper parking lot, and over a 10-foot retaining wall, to a lower parking lot.
The incident wasn't over yet.
"She ran over him a second time before she left the scene," Morlock said.
Florquist was stunned.
"I couldn't believe our friend was lying on the ground," she said. "My husband went to visit him at a hospital (in Colorado Springs). He's in intensive care. He has a ripped kidney, three broken places on his pelvis and 10 broken ribs."
Authorities arrested Smith shortly thereafter, around 2 miles east along U.S. 24, pulled over because of vehicle damage from the parking lot crash.
Morlock said Byrne is in critical but stable condition.
Smith made her first court appearance Friday with bond set at $10,000 on charges of vehicular assault, DUI, leaving an accident scene, driving with a revoked license and domestic violence.
Morlock said the couple arrived in Colorado Springs Wednesday on a flight from Atlanta, took a hotel room and rented the SUV.
"She has a previous warrant for failure to appear in court in Park County," he said. "But we don't know why they're here."
Morlock said investigators have spoken with Byrne, while Smith denies dragging him or driving over him.