Drunk Oktoberfest

May 14, 2017


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Attorney James McConkie noted in a news release that " ... no Snowbird employees or security, either at the peak or on the tram, took any steps to protect our clients from what was clearly a foreseeable danger given the heavy drinking that was going on." McConkie claimed there is a "spring break" attitude at Oktoberfest, which "creates a very dangerous situation for everyone, not only the patrons at Snowbird."

He added: "Snowbird is not a good place to hold Oktoberfest. Inviting people to drink and drive in the canyon is a bad idea for obvious reasons."

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages to cover, among other things, personal injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses.

Snowbird Resort President Bob Bonar said Monday that the altercation is a matter that should be settled between those involved, not Snowbird, noting that criminal cases have been filed against three of the alleged attackers.

"Guest and employee safety are a top priority, " said Bonar. "Our track record shows this is an unprecedented event involving two parties that should have walked away from each other to prevent this altercation."

Bonar added that the fight was the first in the 44-year history of Oktoberfest and that the resort has never received an alcohol violation, notice of infraction or other citation regarding its alcohol service.

He said all servers are TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) certified — meaning they have completed a program designed to prevent intoxication and underage drinking — and adherence to Utah Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) policies therein is mandatory.

Bonar added that Snowbird uses its own public safety department, as well as uniformed Unified Police Department officers, during Oktoberfest. Snowbird also offers free rides home to any guest who requests using the van service Canyon Transportation, he said. This year, Snowbird also has partnered with Uber on a ride program.

According to the lawsuit, the Andersons, along with Grzeskiewicz, his wife and their 4-month-old son, were waiting to board the tram on the evening of Sept. 21, 2014, when seven to nine people arrived carrying steins of beer.

Those in the group "smelled of alcohol and were loud and physically intimidating, " and one ... "started singing, 'I am a child of God and I'm here to f- you up!' mocking a well-known Mormon children's song, " according to McConkie.

Brent Anderson politely asked the group to temper their language because there were families with children present, the lawsuit says.

Snowbird personnel did nothing but direct the group to finish their drinks or pour them out before boarding the tram, McConkie claims, and "most of the individuals quickly gulped their beers."

During the ascent to Hidden Peak, several in the intoxicated group continued to use "vulgar and offensive language, " and one of them, "while cursing and laughing, pulled hard enough on a support bar inside the tram that he broke it off, " McConkie claimed.

On the peak, members of the intoxicated group specifically harassed and threatened the Andersons, McConkie claimed.

"One drunken man sucker-punched and slugged Mr. Anderson on the left side of his face, dazing him, " McConkie claimed, adding that several others then joined in and "viciously beat Mr. Anderson."

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Source: www.sltrib.com
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