Indignant reaction to Crandall Canyon plea deal

REACTION from victims’ family members was voiced with anger and frustration after the four-and-a-half year legal drama of the 2007 Crandall Canyon mine tragedy ended with $US500,000 in fines and relatively minor misdemeanor charges.
Indignant reaction to Crandall Canyon plea deal Indignant reaction to Crandall Canyon plea deal Indignant reaction to Crandall Canyon plea deal Indignant reaction to Crandall Canyon plea deal Indignant reaction to Crandall Canyon plea deal

Crandall Canyon mine.

Justin Niessner

In a story by the Salt Lake Tribune, Frank Allred, brother of one of the men killed in the collapse, said the fines for willfully violating safety laws were inadequate.

“There’s really not much justice, even though they have to pay whatever amount of money they have to pay,” he said in the newspaper.

According to a report by the finance-focused site Mineweb.com, Allred said he would have preferred more severe recompense for Murray Energy chief Robert Murray.

“I would have liked to have seen more drastic measure taken to make sure the people who were involved or helped cause this were held responsible,” he was quoted as saying.

According to US Attorney for Utah David Barlow, evidence was insufficient for criminal charges against Murray or other corporate entities outside the mine’s immediate operator, Genwal Resources.

The plea agreement announced by Barlow requires Genwal to admit guilt to two counts of criminal safety violation and pay a $250,000 fine for each count.

"I can't believe what the [US Attorney] did," one victim’s sister, Gayle McDonald, told Mineweb.

“We are emotional and at a loss for words. I wish they had not done anything. It would have been better than this.”

A mother of one of the victims told the Salt Lake Tribune that the families were not surprised by the outcome but that there was anger Robert Murray escaped mostly unmarked.

“We kind of figured something like that would happen,” said Lucille Erickson, whose son was one of the six killed in the first collapse.

“[Murray] will get his rewards in the next world.”

Her husband Erick added to the paper: “I figured they’d slap [Murray’s] hands and turn him loose. We just have to live with it and forget it."

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