Wendy Lyall accepts plea-bargain in Leadville Trail 100 impersonation case
By Kirsten Frattini | Monday, June 7, 2010 5.30pm
The start of the 2009 Leadville Trail 100. Arlyn Asch
Wendy Lyall and Katie Brazelton were charged with a Class 6 felony criminal impersonation following Colorado’s famed Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race last year. Lyall accepted the offered plea-bargain.
Lyall, 36 and Brazelton, 40, were charged with the offence following the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 where Lyall used Brazelton’s number and placed second in the women’s 40+ event. Both women pleaded guilty to the charges placed against them and admitted their wrong doing to race organizer Ken Chlouber.
In a Leadville court hearing on May 24, Lyall plead guilt to a lesser charge of criminal trespass in exchange for teaching 45 hours of bicycle safety and a written apology to the race organization.
Brazelton is expected to appear in court on June 7 where Judge Wayne Patton will offer her the same plea-bargain as he did Lyall, according to Mark Hurlbert of the Colorado Fifth Judicial Districts Attorney’s Office.
“Potentially the consequences were prison, but the likelihood of that was very small,” Hurlbert said. “There is every indication that Brazelton will also take the lower charges.”
Hurlbert said this was the first time he encountered a case of this nature, but realized the severity after further investigation into the charges placed against the two women.
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“We got information that these two women essentially had switched places in the race,” Hurlbert said. “We did an investigation and confirmed it, they admitted to the race organizers. We took a look at it to see if it fitted a crime and it looked like it did fit the criminal impersonation. From the very beginning of this we weren’t looking to hit them with felonies. Initially, I had to be educated as to the seriousness of this.”
“Not only did she [Wendy Lyall] race as a 30-year old in a 40-year old age group but there were potentially people who had sponsors that could have dropped them because they didn’t get a place their sponsor requested,” he added. “It turned out that this was pretty serious. We filed the charges and started talking with her attorney. We came to the agreement that she would plea to the lower charges in exchange for doing some education and writing a letter of apology.”
With Brazelton removed from the results Rachel Farrett moved into second and Jacqui Wood moved to third. Furthermore, Wood will get the spot Lyall won in the January lottery for this year's race held on August 14.
Chlouber has banned Lyall and Brazelton from racing future editions of the Leadville Trail 100.
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