A mistrial in the Colorado Avalanche case against two snowboarders has been declared.
The two snowboarders are facing charges in Summit County for an avalanche they triggered last spring. Evan Hannibal, 26, and Tyler DeWitt, 38, appeared in Summit County District Court Thursday for what was supposed to be day one of their trial, but only half of those summoned for jury duty appeared.
Now they will have to wait until June for their day in court. The judge had to declare mistrial in the colorado avalanche case.
“I’m disappointed for a lot of reasons,” said Judge Edward Casias. “I’m disappointed for the parties not being able to address this the way they should have today. Both the People and Mr. Hannible and Mr. Dewitt were entitled to a jury trial of 6.”
Jason Flores-Williams, attorney for the defendants said about half of the 40 summoned showed up.
“…and when we started questioning jurors about what they knew about the case, if they had any biases, it became pretty clear that we weren’t going to be able to get 6 impartial jurors,” said Flores-Williams.
Judge Casias thanked those who did show up and had some words for those who didn’t.
“It’s an important case. Every case is important,” he said. “There are very few civic responsibilities we ask of you. Jury service and voting really are the two that we ask you to be engaged in with your community and some of the people that were summonsed chose not to and I will address that with them and probably the community at large.”
Eisenhower Tunnel Avalanche and Damage
Hannibal and DeWitt were snowboarding on March 25 when they triggered an avalanche just above the Eisenhower Tunnel.
“The avalanche put debris on the road that was over 400 feet wide and 20 feet deep,” said Ethan Greene, Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The pair reported the slide to the CAIC and handed over GoPro video to go with the report. They never realized it would be used in a court case against them.
They now face a misdemeanor for reckless endangerment and may have to pay some restitution for damage caused.
The trial has been rescheduled for June 7, 8, and 9.