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Charges dismissed against man involved in fatal BASE jumping accident

By Robynn Garfield | Posted - Feb 12th, 2014 @ 7:38pm

SPRINGDALE, Washington County — Charges against a man whose wife died in a BASE jumping accident in Zion National Park have been dropped.

The United States Attorney Office released a statement Wednesday night announcing all charges against Clayton Butler have been dismissed.

“The United States Attorney has moved to dismiss the misdemeanor citation issued by the National Park Service to Mr. Clayton Butler for BASE jumping in Zion National Park,” the statement read.

Butler and his wife Amber Marie Bellows, 28, were at the park on Saturday, Feb. 8. The couple planned to jump off Mount Kinesava and Bellows jumped first, but her parachute failed to open. Clayton jumped immediately after her but was unable to locate where she had fallen, park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus said.

The couple had been married two weeks at the time of the accident.

Tuesday, Baltrus confirmed Butler had been issued a misdemeanor citation. It carried potential penalties including a $5,000 fine or six months in jail.

“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,” the statement read. “Nevertheless, the interests of justice do not warrant prosecution of Mr. Butler.”

Saturday’s accident was the first BASE jumping fatality recorded in the history of Zion National Park.

Contributing: David Cawley

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