VT VT - Matthew Ives, 15, Highgate, 11 Aug 2002

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by dark_shadows, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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    I do not know if I am in the right forum or not,here is a summary;
    A 15 yr old buys an ATV with monies that he earned.The very day that he brings the ATV home he rides to land right next to his home.He goes down a path and is yanked of his machine by a cable that was strung traversing the path.He was hit in the chin and neck due to the fact that the cable was strung about 3 feet of the ground.He was two-tenths of a mile from his home.He died at the hospital shortly after.
    The town said that they were not obligated to disclose who owned the land and the portion of the path were the death occured.The town clerk stated that it would be "a huge liability for the town to conclude who owns the portion of the path".
    This child was killed by a cable strung where it would kill someone riding down the path on a vehicle.There were no signs saying "no trespassing" on the well used path.
    The police did nothing stating that he was on private land and it was an accident.
    How is a cable strung across a path not an intent to kill.You would not see this cable until it was too late if you were on a vehicle(by the way it was placed).Since when is land worth more than a human life.Land well traveled by people other than the landowners.
    This was not an accident,it happened in 2002 and I see it as cold case.(As well as many others see it.)

    Is there anyone who can direct me to help with this?
     
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  3. Hollow

    Hollow Former member

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    Where did this happen Dark Shadow???
     
  4. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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    Hi Hollow,

    This happened in Vermont.
     
  5. Hollow

    Hollow Former member

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  6. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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    Hi Hollow,

    No that is not the story.Thank-you for looking though.This incident happened in Swanton/Highgate,Vermont.
     
  7. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    Was this investigated by law enforcement? I'm quite sure that landowners are not allowed to do anything like this which may cause intentional harm, even to those who are on the property illegally. If nothing else, the property owner could be held liable in civil court. I've been dealing with a simialr situation for years, due to an abandoned power line right-of-way which traverses our family property. It certainly sounds as though the cable were placed specifically to do harm.
    You may want to post this in the private forums also-The Jury Room or Parking Lot--for more definitive legal opinions.
     
  8. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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  9. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    I find it quite strange that nothing was done...It certainly seems the cable was placed in such a way as to result in exactly the kind of injury that resulted to this young man.

    Do you know if the family ever sought damages in civil court? With people suing due to broken sidewalks, patches of ice, etc-even in cases of private property where the person injured was not invited--It certainly seems to me that the family might be able to make a good case of it. The publicity alone could help to bring about the very change in law they are seeking.
     
  10. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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    When I spoke to Mrs Ives,the law was not passed.So I am trying find a way to help have someone look into this.
    They have not sued anyone over this.
     
  11. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    I think you need to find a lawyer who is knowledgable of land ownership laws...There may very well be something already on the books--Was this road just a path created by the ATVs, or was it possibly an easement or access road of some sort? Its possible that some law already exists about its blockage or closure.
     
  12. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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    I am not sure,that is something that I will ask about.
     
  13. 2sisters

    2sisters New Member

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    I'm confused, was he on someones private property or public property? Sounds like the owner purposley had the wire there for some reason. If the owner didn't want people on the land then why didn't he have no trespassing signs up?
    Something similar happened years ago to my grandfather. He had a peice of land unlike this one though, it was marked no trespassing private property. Partially surrounding his land at one side was a barbed wire fence, 2 boys on ATV's were riding on it at night and one ran into the fence nearly decapitating him. The boy did die and his family sued my grandfather but the courts felt he was not in any way responsible for the boys death and the case was dropped, mainly b/c of the numerous signs up. He had them there b/c people would trespass to fish and whatnot in a pond on it and he was always worried that someone would drown or have an accident.
     
  14. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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    It was private property with no signs.It was assumed that it was ok to ride this road since people had been using it.
     
  15. 2sisters

    2sisters New Member

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    Isn't it public record who owns land? I know here you can just look up ownership on tax rolls.
     
  16. dark_shadows

    dark_shadows Former Member

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    The police interviewed a man(see below).But while investigating further,it was unclear who actually owned that spot where Matthew was killed,because the town map showed the path bordering various properties and the town clerk stated that it would be a huge liability for the town to conclude who owns that spot.

    The following is from the link I posted:

    "When the landowner was questioned by police about the cable that killed my son his response was that it was not illegal to put up a cable and that they shouldn’t have been down there in the first place. The officer stated he never felt that he was sympathetic about the death of this boy."
     
  17. Boatswain'sMate

    Boatswain'sMate Inactive

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    I bet if somebody started constructing something on that path, the owner would come forward quickly enough. The family needs a lawyer to figure out if it is illegal or not to put up such a dangerous barrier. Also, how is it the town clerk's decision about whether or not the town would have a "huge liability" for something. This family really needs an attorney!
     
  18. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    I would first go directly to the prosecutor and talk with them, take all applicable police reports. If you feel that the LE did not make a proper determination of the legality of an act, you are supposed to be able to talk directly to them.
    Then if they don't get anything from the prosecutor, then tell them to see out a personal liability attorney. To me, I would say there may be grounds not only against the property owner, but also against the police dept, for not investigating.
    The hard part is going to be determining who strung the cable. After this amt of time, that may never be known. It could have been the property owner, or it could have been a disgruntled neighbor, who was tired of the noise of the ATV's. But still the property owner should have some liability due to the hazards.
     
  19. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    On private property there is no reason he'd be liable for putting anything up and if someone who didn't have permission to be there used the land then, not to sound cold, but whatever happens happens. As he said, they shouldn't have been there to begin with. Our neighbors put up cables and such to keep people from using their driveway and paths all the time. If it was public land, it'd be different. Now, that usually doesn't stop lawsuits, however. Around here, if someone is hunting on your land, even without permission, and there is an accident, they try to sue the landowner. It's stupid but it happens.
     
  20. Boatswain'sMate

    Boatswain'sMate Inactive

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    I wouldn't have to carry so much home insurance if I weren't potentially liable for any accidents that happen on my property. I would think that setting up a cable across a road, without indicating that it was private property, posting "no trespassing" signs or red-flagging the cable, could maybe fall under "reckless endangerment" statutes. One should reasonably be expected to foresee the danger that the cable would clothesline a motorcyclist or ATV rider.
     
  21. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    That is probably the way it should be for a land owner, but several courts have disagreed. The primary point I see here is the doubt as to who actually owns the property. If that is in question, then the person who (it appears to me) admitted to stringing the cable may not have had the right to do so. I cannot go on a neighbor's property and erect "no tresspassing" signs in order to keep people from passing from that property to mine, and this man can certainly not string a cable on someone else's property to prevent ATV traffic. The question of land ownership has to be settled before LE can walk away from this one. Thinking that one has ownership rights on a piece of land is not an excuse. If it turns out that this particular strip of land belongs to someone other than the person who strung the cable, then I would believe he is criminally liable. My question of the road's purpose becomes even more important--even if "cable guy" owns the property, the road may be an easement for access to other property and in that case he cannot restrict access on the road without the easement owner's consent.

    Here are some dictionary definitions of EASEMENT (I have some personal knowledge of this issue, unfortunately...)
    an interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment (as the right to cross the land or have a view continue unobstructed over it)
    affirmative easement
    : an easement entitling a person to do something affecting the land of another that would constitute trespass or a nuisance if not for the easement apparent easement
    : an easement whose existence is detectable by its outward appearance (as by the presence of a water pipe)
    common easement
    : an easement in which the owner of the land burdened by the easement retains the privilege of sharing the benefits of the easement called also determinable easement
    : an easement that will terminate upon the happening of a specific event or contingency
    easement appurtenant
    : an easement attached to and benefiting a dominant estate and burdening a servient estate
    NOTE: Easements appurtenant run with the land and are therefore passed when the property is transferred.
    easement by estoppel
    : an easement that is created when the conduct of the owner of land leads another to reasonably believe that he or she has an interest in the land so that he or she acts or does not act in reliance on that belief
    easement by implication
    : an easement that is created by operation of law when an owner severs property into two parcels in such a way that an already existing, obvious, and continuous use of one parcel (as for access) is necessary for the reasonable enjoyment of the other parcel called also easement by necessity implied easement way of necessity
    easement by prescription
    : an easement created by the open, notorious, uninterrupted, hostile, and adverse use of another's land for 20 years or for a period set by statute called also prescriptive easement
    easement in gross
    : an easement that is a personal right of its holder to a use of another's land and that is not dependent on ownership of a dominant estate called also personal easement
    NOTE: Utility companies often own easements in gross.
    exclusive easement
    : an easement that the holder has the right to enjoy to the exclusion of all others
     

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