Family Sues Boy Scouts, Mormon Church After Tree Kills Motorcyclist

October 18, 2016

A family is seeking unspecified damages from the Boy Scouts and others after two teenagers in a church-sponsored troop cut down a tree that killed a Colorado motorcyclist.

The lawsuit says a 14-year-old and 17-year-old were unsupervised and not permitted to remove live trees when they felled an aspen along State Route 12. The boys were in a troop permitted to collect fallen firewood in Dixie National Forest.

Edgar Riecke died Oct. 11, 2014, when the tree fell on him.

The lawsuit from Riecke’s son and two daughters names the Boy Scouts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Trapper Trails Council, five Scout leaders, the two Boy Scouts and the 14-year-old’s parents.

The lawsuit says a reasonable person of the same age, experience and intelligence as the boys “would have foreseen that a tree falling near any roadway was highly dangerous and capable of causing injury to a nearby motorist.”

Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington said in a memo to the Utah attorney general’s office in March 2015 that there wasn’t enough evidence to show the boys had the “required mental state, intent or recklessness necessary to reasonably convince a judge or jury they committed a crime.”

Allen Endicott of the Boy Scouts’ Trapper Trails Council said on behalf of the defendants that they extend sympathy to those affected by the tragic incident but cannot comment on active litigation. “Safety is integral to everything we do, and the Boy Scouts of America continues to place great importance on providing a safe environment for all involved, including Scouts, leaders and the public,” he said.

American Standard Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit in Utah against the Boy Scouts of America to recover over $9,500 plus interest for the motorcycle.

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