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Strange, camp director/AMGA certified rock guide charged with endangering children, on climbing trip

Obviously, there are some facts missing, this is really dumb, there is an overzealous prosecutor; someone in the family knows someone in county office or the plaintiff’s attorney pushed to have the county sheriff make their case for them.

It’s really sad to see an 11-year-old girl injured. It’s said to have a group of kids scared by the experience. However, there are some things about this that are confusing.

Here are the facts from the article. The defendant & defendant, first in a criminal case and second in a civil case was the camp director of a church summer camp; Camp Otterbein (an affiliate of West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church). The defendant took the kids to Hocking Hills Rock Climbing Rappelling to do something.

During the day either a female camper was lowered or rappelled into a hole. (I’m guessing it was a formation, why would you lower someone into a hole?) The rock formations are small and composed of long ago eroded water features. (I grew up in the area and have been there several times.) The article describes her as rappelling, however, when questioned the article states she said she was lowered in when she became stuck.

It is not clear what time she started her descent; however, she was not rescued until 1:30 AM. The girl suffers from compartment syndrome, which allegedly started to occur after she was discharged from the hospital.

The defendant allegedly created a substantial risk to the health or safety of a child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support, which is the definition of child endangerment. (It’s a 10 page statute, so I’ll not post it. It is a good statute; however, it is also the statute used to hold adults criminally liable when a kid gets in trouble because the adult allowed or left the child in a position to get in trouble.)

The child suffered:

…she suffered injuries including redness and bruising around her thighs due to the harness; bruising and abrasions on the right side of her stomach; abrasions on her back from her neck to her buttocks; abrasions on her right shoulder; bruising in her armpits; and lacerations between her legs where the harness was holding her.

I highlighted the injuries that would come whether you were trapped or not wearing a harness. The severity of those types of injuries might be increased based upon the length of time in the harness. However, if she was wedged, then she might not have had any weight on the harness. Also the injuries under her armpits suggest she was wearing a full body harness, but that is only speculation.

There were two things that did get my attention in the article. The girl admitted to investigators that she had volunteered to go down the hole, and no one had forced her to do so.

The second was that the mother told park rangers that she was going to find an attorney. (My kids stuck in a hole, but I’m going to find an attorney…..)

The defendant camp director was a certified “instructor” through the AMGA.

I’m trying to get more information about this accident/incident. Not much will be forth coming until after a plea bargain or criminal trial and then only what is in the criminal files. The civil case will take longer.

What a mess.

The article is: Camp director charged with endangering children

Please read the article, you might see things differently. Thanks to D. Twilley for sending me the link.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Death of young climber leads to criminal charges in Italy

Lawsuit versus criminal charges; US v. Europe

Tito Traversa died in July of this year. He was a very talented promising climber who had already lead 5.14’s. His death allegedly occurred because instead of his quick draws being correctly attached to carabiners, the webbing was attached to the rubber “bands” used to keep the slings from moving on the carabiner. Those bands have a low breaking strength, if any at all. When Tito fell he fell 40 meters (120 feet) to his death.

To read an article on how the quickdraws were incorrectly set up see The Quickdraws that Led to the Death of Tito Traversa.

Here in the US there might be a lawsuit over the issue; however, criminal charges would not be filed unless there was criminal scienter. Scienter is a criminal intent to do something or known as the “criminal mind.”

Just another example of the different ways legally the US and Europe, as well as most other countries are different.

See Manslaughter Charges Filed after Tito’s Accident

For articles about his death see: 12-Year-Old Tito Traversa Dies From Climbing Fall or Superstar Preteen Climber Dies After Fall

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Help End the Hit and Run Loophole in Colorado. Support Bicycle Colorado!

Bicycle Colorado is working hard to make Cycling Safer in Colorado

Denver Capital building

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Bicycle Colorado announces support for the “End the Hit and Run Loophole” Act (HB12-1084) introduced in the Colorado House by Representatives Kathleen Conti (R) and Rhonda Fields (D). The act will increase the penalty for a hit-and-run crash causing serious bodily injury from a Class 5 felony to a more serious Class 4, removing a dangerous loophole in Colorado law by giving a hit-and-run offense the same penalty as drunk driving.

At present it is better to flee and avoid getting caught drunk than it is to stay at the scene.

Hit-and-run crashes disproportionately affect people who walk and ride bicycles. Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are four times more likely to be the result of a hit and run than other roadway crashes. The difference between life and death may be the immediate help that is offered at the time of the crash.

The bill will soon be heard in the Judiciary Committee, and we will keep you updated on its progress. For more information, go to the legislative page on our website.

Do Something

To receive all the latest news from Bicycle Colorado, sign up for the free eNews or read archived eNews publications.

English: Denver B-cycle Station, Denver, Colorado

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Her life is permanently changed, but she really wants an apology

Justice will be served when defendant admits guilt

The first sentence in the article tells a lot:

Laura Fralin might have recently received a large insurance settlement, but the University of Georgia graduate won’t be satisfied until the man who nearly killed her two years ago owns up.

The injured lady in this case was crossing the street when she was hit by a driver who fled the scene. Witnesses boxed the driver in and he was caught. He was not charged with felony hit and run, but misdemeanor traffic violations. He claimed his medication affected him at the time of the article and is trying to enter a “no-contest” plea on the charges.

A no contest plea neither admits nor denies guilt, but accepts the charges.

Although the injured lady does not want the defendant to be able to plead no contest and she is not advocating for jail time, she really wants an apology. “I will feel like justice has been served is if Mr. Hale owns up to what he did wrong.”

See UGA grad wants apology in collision that left her disabled

Additional Articles on Why People Sue:

It’s Not Money

Why do people sue? Not for the money.

Money is important in some lawsuits, but the emotions that starts a lawsuit.

Serious Disconnect: Why people sue.

Great article on why some corporate apologies fall short and they are not sincere

A Church wants to apologize and the insurance company for the church panics. What else would you expect a church to do?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Cyclists! We need to change this. It is legal to change it, it is right to change it.

Organization of the New York City Police Depar...

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We have to get/force/educate law enforcement that cyclists are not just future road kill!

If you ride regularly, other than on a trainer, you’ve probably been scared, brushed or hit on a bike by a vehicle. If you are injured or your bike or other property is damaged, a

nd you call the police/state patrol/sheriff, you are probably ignored, or if they respond, still ignored.

People are starting to take action about the issue of motorists killing or almost killing cyclists. See Tell Maui and HI that you’re not coming until they prove the place is safe and the news article Family Of Killed Cyclist Mathieu Lefevre Sues NYPD For Withholding Information. The horses are hitched; it’s time to get on the band wagon!

This has to stop!

There are several things you must do (yes I’m not suggesting I’m telling you).

Before an incident.

1.     Get a law passed that gives cyclists the right to call law enforcement that makes law enforcement respond.

        The law should say the cops have to show up.

        The law should say the cops have to take a report.

2.     If you are politically active, ask politicians if they support the right of cyclists to be on the road. The law has already allowed it, so this is to find out any bias.

        Once you get an answer if is one you like to tell them you are going to support them and tell everyone.

        If it is an answer, you do not like, get it confirmed somehow. Record the response or get a written response, some way to hold the person accountable later. Usually when a politician finds out, they’re commented was stupid, they correct it.

        If they still stand by a negative answer, let the world know. If proof of the claim I’ll post it, and I know of a lot of other cycling blogs that will post it. Let your local bicycle advocacy groups know. (You are a member right!).

After an Incident

English: A commuter cyclist in the London morn...

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For what to do before an incident and what to do after an incident see: How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?

If you follow the advice in How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?You should get a response. If not, then proceed to step 3.

After an Incident and you do not get a response!

1.     Make noise. Make lots of noise. To borrow an old slogan, be loud and proud.

        Contact the head of the law enforcement agency and get a reason why you have not had a response. Furthermore, ask for a copy of the file on the incident. In most states, you have the right and can get this file.

        Contact the District Attorney’s office and find out why charges have not been pressed against the driver. Ask for a copy of the file.

        Contact the chief political politician, mayor, commissioner, governor and ask them why nothing has happened. Ask them to investigate. A month later asks for a copy of their file on the incident.

        Contact the local Visitors Bureau and let them know that you have that their city/county/state is dangerous, and you will let other cyclists know. Those cyclists’ make up a big part of the economy and cyclists visit the area to ride.

The more the merrier!

Ask your friends and other cyclists to help. They can also contact law enforcement, the District Attorney, the visitor’s bureau and the media to add weight and support to what you are doing.

In all communications, it is important for both you, and others that are assisting, to copy people on the communications. In many cases the people you copy are the most important part of the letter. CC everyone above on each other’s letters. Always include any bicycle groups or clubs with a copy. Include bike shops as a cc in your communication so the people you are contacting understand that you are getting the word out.

In your communications be polite and be persistent. Set up a schedule. Give the prosecutor and law enforcement a month at first. No response gives them another month, then 2 weeks then every week. I would suggest you do this in such a way you can keep records of your communications. What you said and when you said it. Email or in writing is best.

In your communications be polite and be persistent. Do not threaten anything except your vote and your obligation to communicate. You do not want to put yourself in any box except as an aggrieved citizen or worse charged with harassing a government official.

If you have not heard anything after the first week, get on the publicity horn. Prepare a written statement of what occurred. Include any witness names and contact information. Include any photographs, GPS files, etc. and send it to every media outlet in your community and every cycling media outlet. Most will ignore it, but on a slow news day, you may get lucky.

You want your initial contact to be valid enough so that you are not considered a whack job by the media. You want to come across as a member of the community hat was almost killed, and you want to know why the police have not done anything.

If you want to invest a ton of time, you can go to the courts in many jurisdictions and request a special prosecutor. A special prosecutor is one from another county whom the court orders to investigate the case and see if charges should be brought. This is rarely granted, however, it will show that you are serous, and it will help get more media interest in your case.

You may never get a ticket issued against the driver. However, you will let the community know that cycling is dangerous in your community and what politicians and other elected officials think about the issue.

If enough people do something, something will happen. Eventually, law enforcement will track down and start issuing tickets to.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Tell Maui and HI that you’re not coming until they prove the place is safe.

Cyclists assaulted by driver and cops do nothing in Maui.

A friend of mine was almost killed by a truck while riding his bike in Maui. To read his article see Maui Road Rage: A Local Tried to Kill Us. It is amazing that he did not suffer greater injuries or be killed.

Simply put while riding his bike a truck driver cuts him off knocking him to the ground with his truck door. While on the ground the truck driver gets out of this truck and starts to threaten the cyclists. DL, the cyclists responded with a well place kick to the thinking part of the truck driver.

What is a greater in amazement is the fact that locals stopped to help him after the truck driver tried to kill him and got the driver’s license number and the police of Maui did nothing.

DL’s injuries were a skinned knee. He got lucky. However, we have to put a stop to this. This is assault, plain and simple. The act was a felonious assault because of the deadly weapon, the truck.

Do Something

Contact the Maui Tourists bureau and let them know about the article. Email address is: info@hvcb.org. Website contact address.

Have you read this article Maui Road Rage: A Local Tried to Kill Us? Is it a common practice for the Maui police to ignore assaults on tourists by locals? The police had everything they needed to prosecute the idiot: Witness statements and the vehicle license plate number and they did nothing.

Why would I come to Maui when it is a dangerous place?

Contact the Maui Tourists bureau and tell them you are not coming to Maui until it is a safe place to ride.

Contact the Hawaiian tourist bureau and tell them you want a response and want to know if Hawaii is a safe place to ride a bike. Email address is: info@hvcb.org

Have you read this article Maui Road Rage: A Local Tried to Kill Us? Is it a common practice for the Maui or other Hawaiian police to ignore assaults on tourists by locals? The police had everything they needed to prosecute the idiot. Witness statements and the vehicle license plate number and they did nothing.

Why would I come to Hawaii when it is a dangerous place?

Contact the Maui police department and tell them their actions were disgusting, and you are not coming to Maui until they have gotten rid of the corruption in their department. The Police Chief’s contact information is: Gary Yabuta crs@mpd.net

Contact the Maui prosecutor’s office and ask them if they are going to allow assaults like this to go unprosecuted. John D. Kim, Prosecuting Attorney, Prosecuting.Attorney@co.maui.hi.us

Repost D.L. article on Twitter, Facebook and your own blog. Let the world know that cyclists are not going to stand up for this and tourism includes cyclists.

To read more about how to protect yourself and push prosecution in these case read How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?

Crumple zones and skid marks don’t work in cycling.

When two cars collide there are several things besides the statements of the drivers that a cop (police officer when they do things correctly and cop when they don’t) can use to determine who was a fault. When a car hits cyclists, there are one set of skid marks, the cars, but rarely any on the pavement from the bike. Consequently it will be your statement against the drivers and cops have an affinity to believe the driver.
What do you do and in what order to make sure the correct person is handed a ticket and you are your bike are taken care of.

Before you take off on a ride:

  1. Get a smartphone and/or
  2. Get a GPS unit that records your travels in detail
  3. Download to your smartphone an app that tracks your location and time in as small of increments as possible.

When you go on your ride:

  1. Start the GPS unit or your smart phone program
  2. Tell someone where you are going and when you should be expected back
  3. Make sure you can dial 911 easily and quickly from your phone
  4. Make sure you can call friends if need help.
  5. Make sure you know how to use your phone’s camera
  6. a. Make sure you know how to upload photos to some site when you take them at the same time leaving a copy on your phone

  • F. Put an app on your phone that allows you to record conversations and upload or email those files to a third party or upload them

If you are in an accident:

  1. Call 911
  2. Tell them you have been involved in an accident, there are injuries (if there are) and damages and request the police

    Do not state that one of the vehicles is a bike if you can because that may slow response in some jurisdictions.

  3. Photograph everything, the car, the bike, the scene and any witnesses, especially reluctant ones.
  4. Get names and addresses of any witnesses and ask them to stick around until the cops arrive
  5.           Take a picture of the witnesses so you can match the information to each witness
  6.           Better photograph their driver’s license
  7.          Upload your photographs to a safe site, keeping copies on your phone to show the cop
  8. Get the driver’s information and while you’re doing that
  9. Record the driver’s conversation. Initially most people tell the truth, only when the cops arrive do they start to change stories.

However, do not give all of this to the police officer unless you have backed it up or have copies; it may disappear. If the conversation is backed up by the evidence or telling, let the officer hear it and tell the officer as soon as you can get it downloaded you can provide a copy. However you cannot give him the smartphone as it is your only phone. Ask the officer if you can email the recording to him from your phone and do so along with any photographs.

If your GPS allows you, do the same with your track on the GPS. Tell the officer it requires special software that you have to download and print the track and you will deliver it to him ASAP, but be hesitant about giving him the GPS.

Always set your GPS to record as much information as possible for each of your rides. A report that only provides data every several minutes may not sure you stopped at the stop sign before proceeding into the intersection. However multiple GPS hits at one spot with the time stamp will show you obeyed the law.
At the same time, always ride as the law requires. If you do not you will provide the police with the information needed to ignore your story or even write you’re a ticket

Get the case number from the officer and his information. Many officers carry business cards now days. Get the officers business card, and take a photograph of it with your phone and upload it. (In case you lose it or it gets sweaty and can’t be used.) Find out how you can supplement the report with a transcript or a copy of the recording, photographs and a download of the GPS report showing your mode of travel.

If you have the GPS track on your phone make sure you email a copy of the track, photographs and recording to yourself ASAP to have a back copy of everything.

You may not be able to win the argument at the scene; cops are tuned to disregard cyclists. Put together a package of the information you have and deliver it to the police officer. Get a receipt when you do. If you do not hear from the officer within 7 days, find out the officers supervisor and give a copy of your information to him, with a cover letter. Also at that time, give a copy of the report to your county commissioner or city council person anyone who was elected to their position and has responsibility for the police.

If that does not work, go to the press and/or a police overview group. The squeaky wheel gets greased and until you make enough noise that someone cares, you may not get satisfaction.

The whole key is to get enough information to be able to prove your point from anyone or anything other than you. Photographs, recordings, notes and other people are more credible than cyclists in many cases when pleading a case. If nothing else, those third parties and things will support your claims.

For examples of how this has worked see: Why Every Cyclist Should Ride With GPS and Why Every Cyclist Should Think About A GPS

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2011 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law, Recreation.Law@Gmail.com

Twitter: RecreationLaw
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