County charges intentional OB skiers who get lost |

County charges intentional OB skiers who get lost

How much money does the county expend to find wayward people, and when should it be paid for the trouble?

Some counties are now looking to recoup costs when it can be proved the wayward person went deliberately astray. A woman was criminally prosecuted last year for leaving Heavenly Ski Resort’s boundaries. She was placed on probation and ordered to pay the cost of her rescue.

She was prosecuted under a California trespass law. Anyone knowingly skiing in an area closed to the public can be liable. The misdemeanor crime carries the penalty of up to six months in the county jail and fines of up to $1,000.

El Dorado County Sgt. Randy Peshon said the costs of a search-and-rescue operation can vary dramatically.

“A simple mission can run from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on what resources are used. Helicopter time usually costs around $500 to $1,000 per hour,” Peshon said. “The costs tend to double for each day the mission goes on.”

Counties sometimes bill the rescued individual’s home county for the costs of the rescue. Peshon estimated that El Dorado County recovered around $21,000 from other counties for rescues during the last fiscal year.

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