Thursday, October 16, 2014

Federal Labor Officials Investigating Idaho Corn Maze Fatality

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

The U.S. Department of Labor is now involved in the investigation of the death of an 18-year-old at a North Idaho Halloween attraction.

Jeremy McSpadden was killed instantly Oct. 10 when he fell in front of a bus while playing the role of a zombie at a corn maze in the Idaho community of Hauser near the Washington border. 

Earlier this week, it was learned that the owners of the maze were never required to get a special license to run the operation.

"We've never had to get a permit to do it, or anything," Marilyn Beck told KREM-TV. "We've just tried to keep it safe."

In 2013, the Idaho Legislature passed House Bill 113, the so-called "agritourism promotion act," which provides "for certain limitations on liability relating to agritourism," as long as there are warning notices posted. The legislation was passed with very little opposition (only one House member and one Senate member voted no). It was signed into law by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in March 2013.

"You post a sign that says, there's risks that come along with attending this event. You know, possible injury or death. And you are assuming these risks," the Hauser farm owner told KREM-TV.

And this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent an investigator from Boise to the corn maze to determine if the death was work related.

Meanwhile a message on the attraction's Facebook page indicated that the victim may have been a volunteer.

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