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Charges to be filed in obstacle course collapse

2 months 2 days 6 hours ago Thursday, August 17 2017 Aug 17, 2017 August 17, 2017 3:42 PM August 17, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ, Associated Press

BATON ROUGE – State fire marshal investigators will file criminal charges against organizers and designers of an outdoor obstacle event after a part of the course collapsed and injured more than a dozen people last year.

WBRZ learned of charges Thursday. Investigators filed warrants for the arrest of five people for negligent injuring. Investigators were also set to pursue contractor violations, too, the WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit learned.

The five people are from out-of-state.

The Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office is handling the investigation since it regulates attractions in the state.

In October 2016, a climbing obstacle known as the Diesel Dome collapsed with as many as twenty people on it during the Warrior Dash in St. Francisville. Numerous people were rushed to hospitals with minor to serious injuries while others were injured so badly, they needed to be taken to the hospital by a helicopter.

"We had just gotten off it maybe 30 seconds before," witness Rebecca Gaillot told WBRZ at the time. "It was wobbly and we were worried, we should have listened to those feelings. Anyway, we had started to run forward and heard the wood hit and people scream."

 “There were reports that it had weakened, that boards had come loose, and that they made some sideline repairs to it. It should have been shut down,” State Fire Marshal Butch Browning told WBRZ Thursday.

Those charged include: Marcus M. Edwards, 47, of Charlotte, North Carolina; Daniel L. Lauber, 47, also of Charlotte; Megan E. Gaseor, 25, of Norridge, Illinois; Mary A. Kreke, 24, of Frederick, Maryland; and Emily A. Littlejohn, 27, of Dayton, New Jersey. Edwards and Lauber were charged with the crimes of negligent injuring (13 counts) and engaging in business of contracting without authority. Gaseor, Kreke, and Littlejohn are charged with the crime of negligent injuring (13 counts).

In the coming weeks, all five are expected to turn themselves in.  

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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