BOULDER — Utah Highway Patrol has released the name of a Colorado man who, motorcycling on state Route 12 Saturday, died upon colliding with a tree that was falling as a result of two Boy Scouts cutting it down.
Edgar E. Riecke, 69, of Durango, Colorado, died when he was struck by a falling Aspen tree while riding his motorcycle north on state Route 12 about halfway between Boulder and Torrey, UHP spokesman Joe Dougherty said.
The tree had been felled – that is, cut down – by two Boy Scouts who had stepped away from their group, Dougherty said. The Boy Scouts were in the area with a permit for cutting down trees for firewood, according to a statement issued by Dougherty on Saturday.
“The tree fell right in the split second that the man was passing on his motorcycle,” Dougherty said.
Riecke collided with the falling tree head-on and the tree broke the windshield of the motorcycle, the UHP spokesman said Sunday.
A group of eight Boy Scouts and two Boy Scout leaders saw a full view of the occurrence, Dougherty said. Witnesses reported seeing the man’s body go limp and fall off the motorcycle upon impact with the tree, he said, and the bike then careened off the road into a stand of trees.
The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, according to UHP.
In a statement issued by Dougherty for the UHP on Saturday, he said it appears to investigators that this was a case of unfortunate timing.
According to Fox 13, Salt Lake City, Allen Endicott, Scout executive with the Trapper Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America, issued a statement Sunday regarding the incident. Fox 13 reported the following statement issued by Endicott, reproduced, it the report said, in its entirety:
According to all available reports, yesterday’s events were a tragic accident. In Scouting we strive to make every effort to provide a safe environment for all that are involved, both Scouts, leaders, and the public.
As a council, our hearts go out to the family of the person who tragically lost his life in this terrible accident. We express our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. We are also mindful of the Scouts, leaders, and families of this troop at this time and the impact yesterday’s events had on them. As a Scouting community we invite everyone to remember all who were involved in their thoughts and prayers.
As far as legal issues are concerned, whether the Boy Scouts were too close to the road or whether they needed to set up cones or flares as warning devices for passing motorists or take other measures, that will be determined by the Garfield County Attorney, Dougherty said early Sunday.
Later on Sunday, Dougherty said again that it does not appear that any criminal action took place, but the Garfield County Attorney will make such determination.
This is a developing story, based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
UPDATED 8:18 p.m. to include Endicott statement as reported by Fox 13.
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