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Husband cited after wife dies BASE jumping, U.S. Attorney moves to dismiss

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Posted at 7:09 AM, Feb 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-12 22:31:49-05

ZION NATIONAL PARK -- The husband of a woman who died in a BASE jumping accident in Zion National Park over the weekend was cited Tuesday, and on Wednesday night officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office said they were moving to dismiss the citation.

Amber Bellows, 28, and her husband of two-weeks, Clayton Butler, 29, were BASE jumping off Mt. Kinesava Saturday. Bellows died after her parachute didn’t open properly after jumping.

Zion park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus confirmed that Butler, 29, was cited for jumping from a natural feature, a misdemeanor that can carry fines of up to $5,000 or six months in jail. He has been ordered to appear in U.S. Magistrate Court in St. George.

Melodie Rydalch is a public information officer with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Utah, and she said in an email Wednesday night that their office had moved to dismiss the citation issued by the National Park Service.

“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 email stated. “Nevertheless, the interests of justice do not warrant prosecution of Mr. Butler.”

BASE jumping is illegal in Zion National Park, and the accident is the first fatality in Zion this year. It's also the first ever fatality of a BASE jumper in the park.