Police Recommend Against Charges in Missoula Avalanche

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — Police in Missoula are recommending no charges be filed against a snowboarder who triggered an avalanche that buried three people, leading to the death of one woman.

The Missoulian reports an investigation found the snowboarder and three sledders on Mount Jumbo on Feb. 28 didn’t see signs that indicated the area was closed to maintain elk habitat. Missoula City Prosecutor Jim Nugent says heavy snow at the time may have blocked the paper sign posted at the trailhead.

Nugent says state law requires that someone charged with trespassing had to have knowingly done so.

Michel Colville died of her injuries two days after the slide destroyed her house. Her husband, Fred Allendorf, was badly injured while 8-year-old Phoenix Scoles-Coburn was hospitalized for two days.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said Thursday his office was reviewing the police findings.

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