No charges in river cable incident

Boater injured on the Dolores

No charges will be filed in connection to a river cable that knocked boaters overboard earlier this month, sending one woman to the hospital.

During an interview with KSJD on Thursday, June 11, Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputy John Hancock said his investigation into the event revealed no criminal intent. He reported that property owners had installed the cable in July 2014 to serve as a guide to cross the river with personal gear.

“Their goal was to take measures to ensure this was not a problem for rafters,” said Hancock, explaining that the cable was lowered into the water when not in use.

Stretched across the Dolores River near County Road 34.4, the cable scraped five people off their raft on June 2. One woman suffered a concussion. Others received scrapes and bruises.

In a three-page report, Hancock initially reported the incident as an assault, writing that the cable appeared to be intentionally strung “as a trap.”

He no longer maintains that belief, stating on Thursday that property owners have assured him that they were supportive of recreational opportunities on the river.

“At this point, no charges will be filed, because there’s no evidence of intentional or reckless wrongdoing,” Hancock said. “This was an unavoidable freak accident that nobody foresaw.”

According to Hancock, local authorities remain unsure whether boaters are legally allowed to navigate the Dolores River when passing through private property, telling KSJD officials that additional research on the topic was required.

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