Picabo Street Opens Up About Her Father’s Illness, Dismissed Domestic Violence Charges

The Olympic gold medalist said she wants to rebuild her tarnished brand.

ByABC News
April 13, 2016, 7:25 AM

— -- Olympic gold medal-winning skier Picabo Street claims police rushed to judgment when they charged her with domestic violence and assault relating to an incident with her elderly father, and she believes they did it because of her celebrity.

“My father attacked me,” Street, 45, said in an interview with ABC News’ Matt Gutman that aired Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” She was referring to an incident that occurred at her Park City home on Dec. 23, 2015.

Roland "Ron" Street –- a longtime diabetic –- had a blood sugar drop and tried to leave her home in the middle of a blizzard on that day. It was the same day that her mother had been scheduled for a double hip replacement, Street said.

Her father drove into a snowbank and bumped into the house, she added.

Street said her father became combative and violent when she tried to help him. Ron Street had had similar episodes before, and the family had coined a phrase for his fits of rage. They would say he was “bonked,” she said.

“As soon as I got in front of him, and he made eye contact with me, I was like, ‘Oh, boy. I need to get him in the house as soon as possible,’” she said.

Street’s parents live with her and her three children. While she was trying to get him into his apartment downstairs, she said he grabbed fistfuls of their hair. They fell and rolled down the stairs.

“I actually have a lump on my shin that will probably never go away from hitting the railing on the way down ... It was very scary. It shook me up,” she said.

When she called 911 to ask for help after telling them that her father had attacked her in front of her children, her mother could be heard in the background saying it was her daughter who had attacked her father. That was her father’s account to police, too.

When police arrived they arrested her on three misdemeanor counts of domestic violence. Street had maintained she was defending herself.

The charges were dropped last month after Street’s 76-year-old father filed an affidavit taking responsibility for the incident. Street’s mother also signed an affidavit saying the incident was her husband’s fault. In that affidavit, Street’s mother indicates she was mistaken for saying during the 911 call that it was Street who attacked her father.

The affidavit signed by her father revealed his frustration over his health struggles, Street said.

Ron Street, who had been a U.S. Marine, gourmet chef and stone mason, had gone “from being the Superman of the family to kind of almost feeling like one of my kids,” she said, adding: “I just grabbed him and gave him a big hug. I said, ‘I get it. I get it now. And I'm sorry that you're hurting so much ... Now are you going to let me take care of you?’”

Picabo Street’s attorney, Joe Wrona, said his client should never have been charged in the first place.

“Not only did they not have to make an arrest, they should not have made an arrest ...,” he said, adding that many police departments across the country have backed off on the policy of making an automatic arrest in cases of suspected domestic violence. “I also think they got a little excited about the prospect of arresting somebody who's famous. And that's not the first time I've seen that happen.”

Street said she’d like to rebuild her tarnished brand.

“There has been fallout, for sure. I had a lot of stuff scheduled for this winter that went away because of it. I've lost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, for sure. You know, which I don't -- I don't need a new pair of shoes. I don't care. I need to be able to feed my children. I need to be able to pay our bills. I need to be able to support my family like I have been,” she said.

She added: “I can just hope and have faith that God has a plan and that we'll get through it,” she said.

Street said the incident has taught her who her friends really are.

“I've found out who my supporters are. I've found out who's still behind me, who believes in me, who knows that families have their stuff. Families have their things. Families have their issues and ... their situations that they deal with. We all have them. It doesn't change who I am, what I've done with my life, and my desire to inspire and make a difference in people's lives, a positive difference,” she said.