A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed negligence by the Boy Scouts of America and the Mormon church in the death of a motorcyclist who struck a tree cut down by Scouts in southern Utah.
Family members of motorcyclist Edgar Riecke and the defendants stipulated to the dismissal, which indicates they had reached a settlement. U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish granted their motion to dismiss on Wednesday.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which chartered the Fruit Heights troop involved in the tree-cutting, had no comment on the case.
Allen Endicott, an executive with the Trapper Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America, also said his organization had no comment.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone affected by this tragic accident and we extend our deepest sympathies to all those involved,” Endicott said.
Riecke struck the felled tree and died on Oct. 11, 2014, as he was driving on State Route 12 about 20 miles south of Torrey and 18 miles north of Boulder in Garfield County, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. The 69-year-old Durango, Colo., man was a retired chemist and a competitive bicycle racer.
In their suit, Edgar Riecke’s son and two daughters — along with their father’s estate — said members of a Fruit Heights troop were gathering firewood on U.S. Forest Service land in Dixie National Forest in the Escalante Ranger District when they felled the aspen tree. Riecke, who was wearing a helmet, died at the scene.
Troop 603 had a Forest Service permit for the removal of fallen firewood but the approval did not allow the removal of green trees or standing trees, according to the suit, which sought an unspecified amount of money.
Named as defendants, in addition to the Boy Scouts and the LDS Church, were the Trapper Trails Council, which the suit said was responsible for overseeing youth and Scout leaders in Kaysville and Fruit Heights; five troop leaders; and the two Scouts, then 14 and 17, who cut down the tree.
In addition, the parents of the then-14-year-old Scout were sued because the boy had not turned 18, making them responsible for his actions, according to the suit.
No one was prosecuted in connection with the death. In March 2015, Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington issued a memorandum addressed to the Utah attorney general’s office that said he had determined there was insufficient evidence that the Scouts involved had the “required mental state, intent or recklessness necessary to reasonably convince a judge or jury they committed a crime.”