Colo. taxi driver: Bryant was at hospital with police

THE BALTIMORE SUN

CORDILLERA, Colo. - More than 12 hours after a 19-year-old woman accused him of felony sexual assault, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant left a Colorado hospital accompanied by three members of his entourage early on July 2.

Terry O'Brien, 38, a Vail Taxi dispatcher and driver, told The Orange County Register that he picked up Bryant from the emergency room at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. Bryant, 24, was flanked by Eagle County sheriff's officers and pulled a towel over his head before diving into the back seat of the cab, O'Brien said.

Doug Winters, a detective with the Eagle County sheriff's department, declined to comment on why Bryant was at the hospital with police, the Associated Press reported.

The early-morning events are the newest details to emerge in this case in which Bryant has yet to be charged.

O'Brien said he transported Bryant and three men to the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs after Bryant left the hospital. O'Brien then took one of the men back to the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, where the assault allegedly occurred. The man "cleared out" Bryant's belongings. Officials at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera confirmed that Bryant was a guest there June 30 to July 2.

The trip began for O'Brien at 2:30 a.m. when he picked up three men at the lodge and drove them to the hospital. When the trip ended at 5 a.m., the fare of $372 was paid by Michael Ortiz, one of Bryant's bodyguards.

"The whole thing was pretty weird and pretty fishy," O'Brien said. "Bryant was laying in the back seat with a towel over his head trying not to be seen while three men were taking care of all the details."

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he hoped to have a decision about filing charges by the end of this week.

Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy confirmed that the allegations against Bryant were made by a 19-year-old Colorado woman who works at the resort. Hoy said the woman has left on vacation with her family.

He also said investigators have sent unspecified evidence to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis. A bureau official said that the work has begun.

Bryant's attorney, Pamela Mackey, says her client is innocent and expects to be exonerated.

Bryant, a five-time NBA All-Star, surrendered to authorities Friday and was released after posting $25,000 bond.

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