No criminal charges in fatal Montana avalanche

AP News
Posted: Apr 14, 2014 8:14 PM

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A prosecutor in Montana says he won't file charges against four young men who were snowboarding or sledding on Mount Jumbo when an avalanche struck a Missoula neighborhood, killing a woman.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said Monday there is no evidence of criminal intent or negligence in the Feb. 28 slide.

Sixty-eight-year-old Michel Colville died from injuries she suffered in the avalanche. Her husband, 66-year-old Fred Allendorf, and an 8-year-old neighbor, Phoenix Coles-Scoburn, were buried but survived.

Police recommended against charges. Van Valkenburg says Allendorf and Phoenix's mother told him they wouldn't object if no charges were filed.

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Van Valkenburg says the young men might have trespassed on an area closed to protect elk, but he says city prosecutors should decide whether to pursue that.