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Criminal Charges

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

This comes out of my "home" area.....

 

 

 

Updated: 03/26/09 07:32 AM
Skiing collision brings criminal charge
Instructor badly hurt at Kissing Bridge
By Janice L. Habuda
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Collisions between people on ski slopes are relatively rare.
Even more rare is the situation in which a Lancaster man has found himself: facing a criminal charge after a collision with a Kissing Bridge ski instructor, who suffered serious injuries.
Dominic Galasso, 25, was charged by state police with a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment, stemming from a March 4 collision at Kissing Bridge with Carl Hensler, 64, of Fort Erie, Ont.
The head of security at Kissing Bridge told state police that Galasso was skiing in a “full tuck” position when he hit Hensler on Mistletoe, an intermediate slope, late that afternoon.
Hensler’s injuries included a broken arm, leg and nose. He remains hospitalized in a rehabilitation unit at Erie County Medical Center, where he has had two surgeries.
Galasso suffered a minor facial injury, according to state police.
What will unfold in Concord Town Court likely will set a precedent in New York State.
“To our knowledge, it is the first time,” said Michael Drmacich of the Erie County district attorney’s office, with whom state police consulted before charging Galasso.
The reckless endangerment charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.
“We are still considering additional charges,” Drmacich added.
Given the risks associated with mountain sports, criminal prosecution stemming from slopeside collisions is a relatively new phenomenon. The first criminal conviction in a skier’s death occurred just nine years ago.
In 1997, a collision between an employee of Vail Ski Resort in Colorado and a visiting skier resulted in the visitor’s death. Three years later, the employee was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Jim Chalat, a Denver-based lawyer whose firm handles lawsuits related to skiing accidents, said he filed a “friend of the court” brief in favor of the prosecution in that case.
“I argued to the court . . . that if we’re going to allow skiers to sue for negligence of other skiers, then when the reckless skier is acting recklessly . . . criminal charges could be brought,” Chalat said.
Prior prosecutions in Colorado related to collision-related skier deaths were resolved through plea bargains, Chalat said.
The 2000 conviction by an Eagle County District Court jury “is now a precedent that gives prosecutors a basis upon which they may make a prosecution for recklessness,” Chalat said.
Kissing Bridge uses its ski school to educate guests about slope etiquette and protocol, said Mark Halter, president. Further, New York State’s Skiing in Safety Code, enacted in 1989, is posted where tickets are purchased and printed on the tickets themselves.
“We try to identify reckless behavior,” Halter said. “We talk to people from time to time. We will warn them, remove [lift] tickets. We have confiscated season passes.”
People who spend a lot of time on the slopes inevitably find themselves in unsafe situations, said Patrick Stahl, vice chairman of Schussmeisters Ski Club at the University at Buffalo.
“I have close calls probably a couple of times a season,” said Stahl, who has been skiing and snowboarding for approximately 18 years. Stahl said he broke his wrist last season after colliding with a friend.
At the same time, safety rules and regulations, as well constant patrolling by ski and safety patrols make a difference, he said.
“I think that the mountains do the best job that they can. Just by going skiing, there’s an inherent risk [right] off the bat,” Stahl said.
Reached Wednesday at ECMC, Hensler declined to comment.
 

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/619493.html

post #2 of 21

Good.  However, a misdemeanor charge is lame.  Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, would sound better to me.  If a motor vehicle, a knife, and a blunt instrument can be considered deadly weapons by the manner of their use or intended use, why not a pair skis?

post #3 of 21
In 1997, a collision between an employee of Vail Ski Resort in Colorado and a visiting skier resulted in the visitor’s death. Three years later, the employee was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 90 days in jail.
 
How does that even come close to justice?
post #4 of 21

Honestly, this was bound to happen at KB eventually. I wouldn't be shocked to find out that a lot more collisions happen at KB than are reported. This guy just happened to hit a senior ski instructor. Knowing how KB works I'm surprised he hasn't had the book thrown at him yet... Anyone know how Carl is doing?

post #5 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post

 

 Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, would sound better to me.

 

Reckless Endangerment IS the proper charge, to gain a higher charge, you need to show the act was intentional or their was a premeditated state for which the assailant was to use an instrument as a weapon to inflict harm.

 

I highly doubt the skier in this case, intentionally set out to cause bodily injury to the victim.

 

However, I am glade to see people are being held accountable for their reckless endangerment actions, accidents are accidents, damages caused by obvious reckless actions should be pursued.

 

post #6 of 21

anyone have more details on the circumstances of this incident? kb would usually be pretty dead on a wednesday afternoon in march. seems like the guy would have had to go out of his way to hit someone.

post #7 of 21

In these cases, where it is an accident, born of stupidity, I am down for an eye for an eye.

Dude that ran the old guy over should have his bones broken to experience what he did to someone else.

I think he would slow down after that.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

*Disclaimer- what I state below is NOT fact, however it came first hand from a reliable source.

 

With the nature and severity of this incident, the fact that credible witnesses were present and the attitude and actions of Mr. Galasso after the incident all lead up to what has transpired.

 

Again, not fact just what I know.

post #9 of 21
"Jim Chalat, a Denver-based lawyer whose firm handles lawsuits related to skiing accidents, said he filed a “friend of the court” brief in favor of the prosecution in that case.
“I argued to the court . . . that if we’re going to allow skiers to sue for negligence of other skiers, then when the reckless skier is acting recklessly . . . criminal charges could be brought,” Chalat said"
 
 

 

 

Skiing in a tuck is not dangerous in and of itself.  The danger occurred when he came into the zone of the other skier and failed to either slow down or give space to the other skier.  If he had been seen going fast down the hill, but not actually out of control, who would have even noticed.  The danger probably became apparent when he got close to the other skier.


Edited by Paul Jones - 3/26/2009 at 04:14 pm
post #10 of 21


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag View Post

 

 

Reckless Endangerment IS the proper charge, to gain a higher charge, you need to show the act was intentional or their was a premeditated state for which the assailant was to use an instrument as a weapon to inflict harm.

 

I highly doubt the skier in this case, intentionally set out to cause bodily injury to the victim.

 

However, I am glade to see people are being held accountable for their reckless endangerment actions, accidents are accidents, damages caused by obvious reckless actions should be pursued.

 


 

If you have a law degree, you should ask for your money to be returned.

post #11 of 21
Quote:

 

By Janice L. Habuda
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Collisions between people on ski slopes are relatively rare.

 

Gotta love informed reporting. 

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 21

At common law, I believe "assault" requires an element of intent to harm, or at least to cause apprehension of harm, which certainly doesn't seem to be present in a ski collision. However, many (maybe most) states have, expanded the definition in their criminal codes, so that the crime of assault includes some unintentional acts. For example, here's one statutory provision (not from Coloroado), which looks like it could be applicable to this fact pattern: "With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm accompanied by substantial pain that extends for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering." Another one (a more typical statute, but not so applicable): "With criminal negligence, causes bodily harm to another person by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm."

 

A whole 'nother thing, but: in my experience, collisions between people on ski slopes are "relatively rare."

 

post #13 of 21

There are a lot of unknown factors here.  Was he bombing the run over and over?  If so, had he been warned to stop/slow down?  Like other's pointed out you can find a lot of room to play on virtually deserted slopes late in the year.   Still no excuse for practically killing someone as the result of being careless, but I wouldn't be surprised if the victim (victim's lawyer) doesn't sue the resort for contributing to the incident by not taking action to stop the guy if he was skiing like that all day.  Could also be  a workplace safety issue since I assume the victim is an employee.  A whole lot of nastiness can come out of an unfortunate accident that has little to do with the real problem.. which appears to be a guy going too fast, not watching where he was going, and not leaving enough room to avoid the collision.

post #14 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

 

 
 
How does that even come close to justice?

 

Because it was an accident.  A young kid living the dream made a mistake.  The results of the mistake were tragic but two lives ruined instead of just one does not equal justice.

post #15 of 21

Yes it was a mistake Pa. Say that I hit your wife or child and kill them skiing. Would you feel that 90 days in jail would be enough?

post #16 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

 

Yes it was a mistake Pa. Say that I hit your wife or child and kill them skiing. Would you feel that 90 days in jail would be enough?

 

Enough for what? People hit each other every day at every hill. Skiing has risks, shit happens. Its tragic that a sport we love can be so deadly.

post #17 of 21

Yes, skiing has great risks. I can't comment about this particular case but the last thing I want to happen is to start restrictive laws regarding skiing. How about speed limits? I'm sure that sounds absurd but if the resort is found guilty of not reprimanding the bomber who may have been unsafe all day, the resort may implement something like speed controls to protect itself. Next thing there will be Ski Troopers in the trees with speed guns and issuing tickets or removing skiers. Then we'll all buy radar/laser detectors!!!!

 

But really, where does it end? Again, I don't know the case and don't want to comment about the particulars but if the resort gets dragged into the proceedings as is sure to happen, we will see ramifications, and that is just another chipping away of the freedoms we enjoy while skiing.

post #18 of 21


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitch236 View Post

 

Yes, skiing has great risks. I can't comment about this particular case but the last thing I want to happen is to start restrictive laws regarding skiing. How about speed limits? I'm sure that sounds absurd but if the resort is found guilty of not reprimanding the bomber who may have been unsafe all day, the resort may implement something like speed controls to protect itself. Next thing there will be Ski Troopers in the trees with speed guns and issuing tickets or removing skiers. Then we'll all buy radar/laser detectors!!!!

 

But really, where does it end? Again, I don't know the case and don't want to comment about the particulars but if the resort gets dragged into the proceedings as is sure to happen, we will see ramifications, and that is just another chipping away of the freedoms we enjoy while skiing.


 

Yes, freedom to injure and kill with no responsibility - that's exactly what we need.  Driving has great risks.  Do we give a pass to the individual who runs a red light and kill a family of four?  Do we give a pass to the drunk driver who kill a ffamily of four?  No, we don't. The offenders are held personally responsible for their actions and that is what should be done in ski related situations if the facts support imposition of criminal sanctions.

post #19 of 21

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MJB View Post

 

If you have a law degree, you should ask for your money to be returned.

 

No Law degree, don't need one in this 'Common sense' case.

 

Did however work for Civil Process (Court Services) for five years.

 

Plus hundreds of hours researching and interpreting Federal, State and Local / Constitutional, Statutory and Administrative Law and Ordinance for the development of Municipal SOP's on Entry and Code Enforcement.

 

I did not give legal advice.

 

If you would like to have a "Charge him with a crime that does NOT fall within the Scope which the intent was written, see how long it stands in Court / keep your job"  debate, I'm game.

 

post #20 of 21

The 'assailant' wasn't a snowboarder? What gives?

post #21 of 21

I was actually working as an instructor at Kissing Bridge when this happened, but never heard anything about it until I read this post. It's interesting that they kept it so quiet to other employees.

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