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The ultimate tragedy - Page 5  

post #121 of 191
Your house burned down and these people lost their son. The correlation is what?
post #122 of 191
They were two traumatic experiences, not on the same level, obviously. I was analogizing, not comparing. Lesson learned
post #123 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
They were two traumatic experiences, not on the same level, obviously. I was analogizing, not comparing. Lesson learned
I was trying to point out that sometimes terrible things happen and the focus on fault and blame is more harmful than helpful....
post #124 of 191
Well said SNWL!
post #125 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
I was trying to point out that sometimes terrible things happen and the focus on fault and blame is more harmful than helpful....
I'm sure you filed a claim with your insurance company. From all indications these people are actually using their grief to help others by making sure this type of avoidable tragedy doesn't happen again.
post #126 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
After further consideration by the moderator team, and inquiries from members, its been decided to re-open this thread. While some may not agree, the thread does not violate the forum terms and conditions, and while there are speculative comments here, it seems that the more neutral judgments and logical problem solving replies are prevailing.

Sometimes the questions of a public that is unaware of protocols for accident investigation, or the leaps to judgment based on media reports seem offensive; especially to professionals. Part of what makes this forum valuable is the freedom for these people to express their questions and perhaps be influenced by those who have experience in emergency response, SAR and SAM. At this point we'll leave the thread open with the request that posters be aware there are sensitive and emotional issues here, as well as an outstanding legal case. Laypersons should understand that professional protocols may make "insiders" reluctant to discuss this openly. As bunion said, the facts will eventually emerge. I will add that discussions here, will not greatly influence that process but can help us understand and deal with a tragedy in our sport.
Volklskier1, perhaps you missed this articulate post by Cirquerider.
Thank you, in advance for reading it and being mindful of the sensitive nature of this topic.
post #127 of 191
Hopefully this tragic accident will increase safety awareness for everyone on mountain here in the US and elsewhere.

At risk of sparking yet another accusatory response, I will close my comments by sharing my suprise by the rush to civil litigation when no criminal charges were filed against the patroller. I am skeptical about the civil attorney's accusation that the prosecutors were ignoring evidence that the attorney will demonstrate to show negligent homicide on the part of the patroller despite the evidence found so far by the medical examiner and other evidence. Time will help unravel this mystery.

From my experience as a criminal and civil trial attorney, litigation is not usually the be the best place to start a learning and healing process. Perhaps there was a short time period within which the family had to make a claim before a statute of limitations was tolled, and that explains why the civil suit was filed right away, but the press comments by the attorney did not suggest so.

What's important is that everyone learn from this tragic accident how to make the hill a safer place for all of us, and from my experience, this is and continues to be the goal of ski patrollers everywhere.

P.S. This was my first lengthy post on epic as I am new to this on line community. Let's just say this sure is a *lively* forum!
post #128 of 191
Why are you suprised? That sounds like every civil or defense attorney I have ever encountered.
post #129 of 191
Believe it or not, there are some honest, compassionate lawyers out there who try to make a positive difference in people's lives. Like any profession, there is good, and there is not-so-good.
post #130 of 191
I fully understand that that is what they get paid to do. Some do it with a certain degree of shall we say enthusiasm and creative writing that can be, shall we say .... unique?
post #131 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
Believe it or not, there are some honest, compassionate lawyers out there who try to make a positive difference in people's lives. Like any profession, there is good, and there is not-so-good.
So compassionate that they scour the newspapers, court dockets, police records and emergency room hallways, looking for clients who might have a case against someone with deep pockets. Bless their hearts.
I don't know if this is one of them, but the speed in which he was retained makes me believe the lawyer contacted the family.
post #132 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
P.S. This was my first lengthy post on epic as I am new to this on line community. Let's just say this sure is a *lively* forum!
And it was a very good first lengthy post.

Thanks for your input and I hope you'll continue to contribute to Epic.
post #133 of 191
There was an article in our Local newspaper today ("The Milford Times") regarding the accident at Alpine Valley. While most of the article was pretty much the same as the last article I posted, this one mentioned that "This particular area where the snowmobile had been responding to an injured person: The child came down a hill and couldn't be seen". It also mentioned that the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office determined injuries on Vachon's leg suggest that the patroller was only driving between 8 and 15 miles per hour. These facts helped in the decision for the Prosecutor, David Gorcyca to not seek negligent Homicide charges against the patroller. There will still be a civil suit against the patroller and Alpine Valley though.
post #134 of 191
From the DA:

"Absent any statutes, rules or regulations regarding snowmobile operation on ski slopes, we cannot factually or legally arrive at a conclusion finding operator negligence."

This infers that it was really not pursued due to a technicality.
post #135 of 191
The lack of a regulation is not a technicality, its simply outside the purview of criminal law. Negligence is a civil tort. As I recall, one of hte original concerns of the plaintiffs in this case was that State law actually worked to indemnify ski areas against negligence and tort suits. Certainly one of the most proactive states in that regard is Colorado. They not only have to demonstrate civil liability, but must overcome statutory protections for ski areas legislated in Michigan. No one wants to see children die, and the fact a criminal case was unable to proceed certainly helps the ski area protect its interests. How a jury will decide the matter remains to be seen. Its a crap shoot. However, all we know at this point is the DA decided no law was broken.
post #136 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
The lack of a regulation is not a technicality, its simply outside the purview of criminal law. Negligence is a civil tort. As I recall, one of hte original concerns of the plaintiffs in this case was that State law actually worked to indemnify ski areas against negligence and tort suits. Certainly one of the most proactive states in that regard is Colorado. They not only have to demonstrate civil liability, but must overcome statutory protections for ski areas legislated in Michigan. No one wants to see children die, and the fact a criminal case was unable to proceed certainly helps the ski area protect its interests. How a jury will decide the matter remains to be seen. Its a crap shoot. However, all we know at this point is the DA decided no law was broken.
I am not a lawyer but I do believe there is criminal negligence. What I get from that quote is that the reason no law was broken was because there was no law or regulations governing snowmobile use. As a result there was also no framework to base a finding of criminal negligence around. I assume it would have been a much different scenario if it had been an automobile.

Lawyers and the tort system are an essential part of making sure that we are safer and that companies are held accountable for their actions. The benefits of this system far outweigh the small percentage of frivolous cases that pop up in the media. There is one thing that companies care about and one thing that they can say they're sorry with and that's money.
post #137 of 191
This message is hidden because volklskier1 is on your ignore list.

just wanted to remind you.
post #138 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
This message is hidden because volklskier1 is on your ignore list.

just wanted to remind you.
Shizz Josh I don't think he cares.

I don't get the point. His post makes sense to me and doesn't seem offensive. How else in American do you measure culpability ? Money. Do you think a heartfelt 'sorry folks 'would be enough ?? Maybe if the resort showed they were changing protocol and made some ammends on their own might affect some change of heart. They lost a child. Give them a break . I would feel no less affected. How do you measure the loss of a child ?
post #139 of 191
I don't want to keep feeding fuel to the fire but I can understand why he is confused. There is no hard line in this or many other cases in many areas of law and regulation that separate a "criminal" action from a civil action.

The prosecutor looks at all of the facts that have been provided from the witness, the accident investigator and the coroner. It sounds like in this case, those facts did not support the test of criminal culpability. All of the details are considered from the state of mind and why he was operating the device, to how fast and under what conditions. Any variation in any one of those facts could have tilted the case into a criminal action. It does not sound like this case crossed that line in the sand to meet the standard of criminal.

They can still put a civil case forward and probably will. Civil lawyers often make statements as noted above, they are setting the tone for their up coming filing.
post #140 of 191
Litigation, litigation, litigation. Man, I'm glad I live in New Zealand.
post #141 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by nzbassist View Post
Litigation, litigation, litigation. Man, I'm glad I live in New Zealand.
No law suits in New Zealand? If this is a wrongful death, and I am not saying that it is, shouldn't the parents have some means of legal remedy. No one likes law suits, but they offer recourse.
post #142 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
No law suits in New Zealand? If this is a wrongful death, and I am not saying that it is, shouldn't the parents have some means of legal remedy. No one likes law suits, but they offer recourse.
In New Zealand a judge would settle the dispute and make an order of determination.
post #143 of 191
We have ACC, the accident compensation corporation, a government entity that compensates victims of accidents and prevents them taking civil action against individuals or companies. I'm no lawyer so I don't know the details, but yeah. It's funded by levies on wages paid. Yay the socialist state hehe.

I dunno, it all seems rather selfish to me. If someone does something illegal causing the accident they may be prosecuted by the police, but yeah the family of a victim etc can't sue for millions, or "recourse" as you put it

I dunno, the impression I get of the American system is that it makes everyone so scared of anything happening that noone will let you do anything remotely dangerous in case they can be implicated when something goes wrong. I would also perhaps expect that it would lead to much larger insurance bills making it harder for small ski areas and the like to break even? I can kinda imagine someone having an accident at a little club field and suing them into bankruptcy because a sign hadn't been placed in a particular place or something like that.

ACC also means that we don't have the kind of cases that i occasionally hear about of US doctors waiting to hear whether someone has health insurance before operating in emergency situations. Whether those are urban legends I'm not entirely sure heh.

*goes back to studying*
post #144 of 191
The snowmobile was going 8.7 miles per hour. That is about a 7 minute mile, in other words it was going as fast as a jogger.

So why is there a civil suit?
post #145 of 191
Post # 133 by snowmiser indicates that the Milford Times reported the speed as estimated between 8 and 15 mph.

I am sure that their arguement will be based on the snowy conditions (visibility), the tree line that obscured vision by both parties (again a visibility issue) and that the combination along with approaching an area of limited visibility (was it at an intersecting trail), it may have been prudent for the operator to stop or pause prior to crossing this area.

Possibly not a flawed arguement when it comes to a vehicle moving up the hill?
post #146 of 191
From the Detroit News article:

Gorcyca (Oakland County Prosecutor) said a video of the snowmobile, witness statements and the accident reconstruction investigation do not establish the driver was operating at an immoderate rate of speed. Rather, the investigation determined the snowmobile was operating at 8.7 miles per hour before the collision, Gorcyca said. The medical examiner corroborated the calculation of the speed, he said.
post #147 of 191
Please note that I cited the Milford Times article as posted. Did one paper leave a bit out or the other invent that number (15)?

The facts will be contained in the full report of record. Papers often shorten or leave out critical facts.
post #148 of 191
From the Milford Times:

Harris(White Lake Police Officer) added that a statement from the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office determined injuries on Vachon's leg suggest that Tonkovich was only driving between 8 and 15 miles per hour.

From the specificity of the prosecutors statement(unless he was misquoted), I would guess that the number is 8.7. However, even 15 mph is not very fast.

The paper also said that eyewitnesses reported the snowmo going 35 mph. So much for eyewitnesses.
post #149 of 191
Taken from post #85:

Quote:
Despite wearing a safety-approved helmet, Timothy, who was knocked several feet, according to the complaint, suffered severe head and brain injuries and was later pronounced dead at Beaumont Hospital.
Quote:
Harris(White Lake Police Officer) added that a statement from the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office determined injuries on Vachon's leg suggest that Tonkovich was only driving between 8 and 15 miles per hour

From the specificity of the prosecutors statement(unless he was misquoted), I would guess that the number is 8.7. However, even 15 mph is not very fast.
If he was hit in the leg first (I assume this due the ME statement) how did the severe head and brain injuries occur?
post #150 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by fischermh View Post

The paper also said that eyewitnesses reported the snowmo going 35 mph. So much for eyewitnesses.

Something to think about.

The laws in Michigan basically protect the ski areas. Thus Gorcyca could not prosecute under the protection of those laws.
How they might win a civil suit, and not a criminal suit is beyond me.

But, if you want to try to speculate on how fast he was going. Here is what they forgot to tell you.
Timmy was pretty much stopped when he got hit. The paper got it right about the leg injury. But , they forgot to tell you that because of the impact, the ferring was broken off and thrown 20 feet. there was a dent in the front of the snowmobile as well as Timmy's helmet was dented too!

So, you tell me how fast you think he was going?

Why they are (Gorcyca) neglecting to tell the whole story is beyond me.
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