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Family Files Lawsuit Over Death of Motorcyclist Struck By Felled Tree

A motorcyclist was killed when he collided with a falling tree in October 2014. The tree had been felled by a group of Boy Scouts with a permit for cutting down trees for firewood – according to reports. According to a spokesperson for the Utah Department of Public Safety, the man had no time to react. A doctor who was with the Boy Scouts pronounced the man dead at the scene. Although the group of boys were under adult supervision at the time of the accident, it was determined that two boys had stepped away from the main group cutting trees, and they were the ones that happened to fell the tree that killed the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet.

Last year, the Utah Attorney General’s Office issued a decision, supported by all law enforcement agencies, that there was insufficient evidence that the Scouts involved in the incident had the “required mental state, intent, or recklessness necessary [under state law] to reasonably convince a judge or jury they committed a crime,” and recommended against prosecution “as the incident was a tragic accident.”

Family members have filed a lawsuit accusing the Boy Scouts of America and several others of negligence, including troop leaders and the scouts that cut down the tree and their parents. According to the suit, the troop had a permit for the removal of fallen firewood, but the approval did not allow the removal of green trees or standing trees. The tree that felled and killed the man was a live, green aspen tree according to the claim. The suit also alleges that the troop leaders were “grossly negligent” to entrust tree-removal tools to the Scouts and not supervise the boys. The two boys that cut the tree were not under adult supervision at the time. The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money.

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