Billionaire Killed in Motorsports Crash on 70th Birthday

A business magnate who was a managing partner of the Aspen Skiing Company died in a crash at an Aspen racetrack on Sunday as he celebrated his 70th birthday.

James Crown, known as Jim, was killed at the members-only Aspen Motorsports Park in Woody Creek, Colorado, in a single-vehicle collision with an impact barrier, according to reports.

Crown was chairman and chief executive officer of Henry Crown and Company. It has stakes in a diverse range of businesses including the Aspen Skiing Company—which runs the popular resort—and the aerospace and defense firm General Dynamics Corporation. Forbes estimated the Chicago family’s fortune at $10.2 billion as of December 2020.

The date of Crown’s death was the same as his birth, according to the Aspen Daily News. Undersheriff Alex Burchetta, of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, told the local newspaper: “Mr. Crown was involved in a motor vehicle crash at the Woody Creek racetrack resulting in fatal injuries.”

Chief Deputy Coroner Audra Keith, of the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office, released a statement online saying: “James Crown was involved in a single vehicle accident at the Aspen Motorsports Park in Woody Creek. The official cause of death is pending autopsy although multiple blunt force trauma is evident. The manner is accident.”

Relatives also issued a short statement on Sunday evening through a representative, who said: “The Crown family is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Jim Crown in an accident earlier today. The family requests that their privacy be respected at this difficult time. Further details regarding plans for a memorial to remember Jim’s remarkable life will be released at a later date.”

The statement also provided a biography of Crown’s career achievements, which included serving as a former member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, appointed by President Barack Obama. Crown, who had both a political science and a law degree, was also a member of the Aspen Institute’s board of trustees.

He lived in Chicago, Illinois, and leaves behind his elderly parents, Lester and Renée Crown, six siblings, his wife of 38 years, Paula, and his children, Torie, Hayley, W. Andrew and Summer.

It’s unclear what type of vehicle was involved in the accident, and whether Crown was the only person in it. The 50-acre park offers members a motocross track, a go-kart track, and an oval dirt rallycross track.

Newsweek has reached out to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office by email for further information and comment, and to Aspen Motorsports Park by email seeking more information.

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