Skier Sentenced to 3 Months in Jail

ByABC News
February 1, 2001, 3:23 AM

Feb. 1 -- The first person in the United States convicted of homicide caused by a ski collision was sentenced to 90 days in the Eagle County jail.

A repentant Nathan Hall, 21, begged the judge as well as the family of the deceased for leniency and forgiveness.

Hall, at the time a former ski-chair operator at Vail Mountain resort, crashed into Alan Cobb, 33, on the slopes in Vail, Colo., April 20, 1997. Hall admitted to skiing too fast, but called the death an accident.

He is currently free pending an appeal. His lawyer maintains that jurors should have been given the option of finding Hall guilty of a misdemeanor.

'I Know I'm Guilty'

"I know I'm guilty," he said, choking back tears as his parents looked on. "I stand before you guys knowing I've taken a human life, a life obviously very special and valued by a lot of people."

A very solemn Judge David Lass strongly suggested that Hall seek help in a drug and alcohol program. After Hall's arrest, beer and a small quantity of marijuana was found in his backpack.

Hall, who was also sentenced to 240 hours of community service, said he hoped to educate others about the dangers of skiing too fast.

"Now that I've had a chance to explain my feelings and express my apologies, I feel I can finally start a new beginning with my life," he said.

A jury made up entirely of local skiers and snowboarders found Hall guilty of negligent homicide Nov. 17 after refusing to convict him on the more severe reckless manslaughter charge. He could have faced up to six years in prison.

Before the sentence was handed down, his mother begged for the judge to understand that her son was immature and should not go to the penitentiary.

A Foot of Blood in the Colorado Snow

Hall, who had just gotten off work, was skiing at more than 25 mph when he entered a ski trail for intermediate skiers, where he would ultimately collide with the victim. Cobb's injuries were so severe they were consistent with those seen in an automobile accident, an Eagle County coroner testified.