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.
Avalanche investigators from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) must testify in the trial of Evan Hannibal and Tyler DeWitt according to Judge Casias. He dismissed a motion from the Attorney General’s Office to void subpoenas to keep them off the witness stand.
On March 25 DeWitt and Hannibal were snowboarding above the Loop Road at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels. They triggered an avalanche. Nobody was injured but it covered more than 400 feet of the roadway up to 20 feet deep and damaged a remote avalanche-control installation.
The District Attorney charged both snowboarders with misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.
Avalanche testimony by Colorado Avalanche Information Center boss Ethan Green in a criminal case could hinder the function of the agency, according to the state Attorney General.
Evan Hannibal provided his helmet video of the avalanche he triggered above Interstate 70 last March. The avalanche buried a service road and destroyed an avalanche mitigation installation protecting I-70. He thought the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) would use his submission to help educate others.
But Summit County prosecutors used the video for a criminal case. They seek restitution for the damaged avalanche mitigation device.
Now Attorney General Weiser has stepped in, asking Judge Casias to reject having state employees testify. He cites several reasons, such as their busy winter work schedules.
Peter Marshall died in an avalanche during an avalanche safety class near Red Mountain Pass in 2019. In an avalanche lawsuit his family names the school, the guide, and Backcountry Access.
The slide swept six skiers down a slope. All of them were part of a Level 2 American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) class. Which was offered by the Silverton Avalanche School.
The family is suing the guide, school and local rescue group. And also the maker of an avalanche airbag and its private equity firm owner. This lawsuit marks the second recent legal action involving avalanches based on reports by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).
Two backcountry snowboarders who allegedly triggered a snow avalanche near the Eisenhower Tunnel last March are now responding with a first-of-its-kind court motion.
Evan Hannibal and Tyler DeWitt are being charged with a single misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment and are being ordered to pay $168,000 in restitution. However, the pair is claiming the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) violated their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.