FORT COLLINS COLORADOAN - No criminal charges will be filed against the city of Fort Collins employee who hit and killed another city employee while driving a bus at the Transfort maintenance and fueling facility in January. And still, more than a month later, the mother of the man killed is seeking information about exactly what happened to her son.
Police initially responded to the city’s Transfort maintenance and fueling facility in the 6500 block of Portner Road in Fort Collins just after 7 p.m. Jan. 24 to a report of a man getting hit by a city bus. He was seriously injured and taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The preliminary investigation revealed that the bus was out of service and being driven into a garage at the facility by a maintenance employee when the driver hit the other employee, 37- year-old Jason Telleen, the city said in a news release shortly after the crash.
Police have since closed their investigation, and it was determined there was no probable cause for criminal charges against the employee driving the bus, city spokesperson Amanda King told the Coloradoan. The employee driving the bus was working in their assigned capacity as a maintenance person and had their commercial driver’s license, King said. They have since returned to work after being on paid leave.
Patricia Telleen, Jason Telleen's mother, said her son was working part-time at the Transfort facility and had previously told her about unsafe working conditions at the Transfort facility, including inadequate lighting and a lack of safety protocols. She said she's heard similar complaints from other employees since her son's death.
Beyond working at the Transfort facility, Jason also had his own automotive repair service, and Telleen described him as a "very intelligent person, very kind, very compassionate."
Jason was born and raised in Fort Collins and graduated from Fort Collins High School and Front Range Community College, Telleen said. Telleen is widowed, and she said Jason took great care of her — he "always made sure my grass was mowed and my sidewalks were shoveled."
"It has destroyed my whole life because he was everything I had," Telleen said. "... He was the perfect son."
Now, Telleen is demanding justice for her son and the truth about what happened the night he was killed, saying that she's never received direct, complete information about her son’s death, starting the night of the crash.
The only information she received the night he was killed was a call from the hospital telling her that her son was there and she should come, Telleen told the Coloradoan. Police officers at the hospital refused to answer any of her questions, citing the open investigation.
Telleen and her attorney, Matthew Haltzman, had a meeting with Fort Collins police investigators a few weeks after the crash, but Haltzman said they still didn't answer her questions. Haltzman said he was informed by the lead investigator in this case in mid- February that no criminal charges would be filed in the case.
“To this day, law enforcement still has not provided any information to Patricia about what happened to her son,” Haltzman said. "... They're making all of these (charging) decisions without ever telling her what happened."
Haltzman said they requested and are waiting to receive a copy of the police report, including video from the scene and any reconstruction of the crash done by law enforcement. The Coloradoan has also requested a copy of the police report.
King said the city’s leadership and a victim’s advocate were initially in contact with Telleen, but since she retained an attorney — Haltzaman — all communication has gone through him or the city’s outside workers compensation team.
“They treat me like this whole thing is none of my business,” Telleen said. “... No condolences, no regrets, nothing.”
'It's all about responsibility'
King told the Coloradoan the city had not received complaints about the facility's working conditions between Jan. 1, 2021, and Jan. 24, 2023, but two complaints have been made since this crash and those are being investigated by the city's safety and risk management team.
The city's safety and risk management team is still investigating this crash that killed Jason, King said. As a municipality, the city is not subject to Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations or investigations, King said.
Telleen won’t be filing a lawsuit because she legally can’t, Haltzman said. Because her son was killed on the job, by law the city only has to pay out $12,500 through workers compensation, according to Haltzman — an amount which wouldn’t even cover Telleen’s son’s funeral costs.
But for Telleen, this isn’t about money.
“I just want justice for my son, and I want the truth about what happened to him and how he was killed,” Telleen said. “... It’s all about responsibility.”
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