Avalanche investigators testifying in criminal case could have “chilling effect,” warns Colorado AG | SkyHiNews.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Avalanche investigators testifying in criminal case could have “chilling effect,” warns Colorado AG

The March 25 avalanche deposited as much as 20 feet of debris on the Loop Road above the west portal of the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel. (Provided by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

Evan Hannibal happily handed over his helmet video of the avalanche that triggered below his snowboard and buried a service road above Interstate 70 last March.

He hoped the Colorado Avalanche Information Center would use the video and his first-person account to help educate other skiers and snowboarders. Maybe the lessons he learned from his close-up with an avalanche could help others avoid slides.

So when Summit County prosecutors used the video to anchor a criminal case and seek restitution for an avalanche mitigation device damaged in the March 25 slide, Hannibal argued that the charges could sway other backcountry travelers to stop sharing information with the avalanche center and its investigators.



Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, acting an attorney for the state’s avalanche center, last week agreed with Hannibal, arguing that Summit County’s plan to call avalanche center director Ethan Greene as an expert witness “could have an unintended adverse ‘chilling’ impact on the CAIC’s ability to gather important information.”

Weiser’s office filed motions to quash subpoenas issued by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney requiring Greene and avalanche center forecaster Jason Konisberg to testify as expert witnesses in the upcoming jury trial of Hannibal and his backcountry partner Tyler DeWitt.



Continue reading at ColoradoSun.com.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


News

Mudslide closes Colorado 125 in Grand County

The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed Colorado Highway 125 in Grand County while crews work to clear the route of mud, debris and snagged trees piled up on various bridges and guardrails.



See more