Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charges dismissed for BASE jumper cited after wife's death

By McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Feb. 12 7:50 p.m. MST

 Charges have been dropped against the BASE jumper who was cited for the jump that killed his wife.

Charges have been dropped against the BASE jumper who was cited for the jump that killed his wife.

(Keith Johnson)

ZION NATIONAL PARK — Charges have been dropped against the BASE jumper who was cited for the jump that killed his wife.

Charges against Clayton Butler, 29, for BASE jumping off a natural feature were dropped Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced. The charge had been filed Saturday, the same day his wife of two weeks fell to her death.

"To be sure, BASE jumping in Zion National Park is unlawful, and this tragic BASE jumping accident underscores some of the reasoning behind the regulations which prohibit such conduct in Zion National Park," said Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. "Nevertheless, the interests of justice do not warrant prosecution of Mr. Butler."

Butler and his wife, 28-year-old Amber Marie Bellows, were attempting an estimated 2,000-foot jump off Mount Kinesava on Saturday when Bellows' parachute failed to open. Butler jumped after his wife but was unable to reach her.

The newlywed couple were experienced BASE jumpers.

The misdemeanor citation carried a potential fine of up to $5,000 or six months in jail, according to park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus. The accident was the first fatality in Zion this year and the first ever BASE jumping incident in the park, Baltrus said Sunday.

Friends of Butler and Bellows set up a fundraising campaign to help pay for Bellows' funeral. As of Wednesday evening, more than $7,500 had been raised.

— McKenzie Romero

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1. Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 13, 2014

Glad to hear it. This poor guy has already paid the price

2. Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT,
Feb. 13, 2014

I'm not surprised at this. I thought they'd go easy on him. He has already paid a very high price for bad judgment.

3. FREDISDEAD
Layton, UT,
Feb. 13, 2014

Why drop the charges? He BROKE the law.

4. DEW Cougars
Sandy, UT,
Feb. 13, 2014

You know they did broke the law but I guess it is okay to drop it. BUT, how many more deaths going to happend when the law will be broken?

5. River Dog
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 13, 2014

Fredisdead: Very cold response. Sure he broke the law, but don't you think the death of his bride is already a high price to pay?