Coroner rules Burbank teen's death an accident

Tri-City HeraldFebruary 6, 2014 

Hunter Conner, left, duck hunting recently with his friend Nate Gradin.

COURTESY DOMINIQUE MESERVE

— The death of Hunter Conner, a Burbank teen who fell while snowboarding on a Dayton mountain, has been ruled an accident.

Columbia County Coroner Rea Culwell said Thursday that Hunter, 14, died from a major abdominal injury on Jan. 25 at Dayton General Hospital, nearly three hours after he tumbled down a beginner trail at Ski Bluewood.

Intense trauma from the fall and possible blood loss sent Hunter into shock, Culwell said.

Culwell, who is also the prosecuting attorney for Columbia County, found nothing else that contributed to Hunter’s death, she said.

During her investigation, Culwell reviewed multiple reports from Ski Bluewood, ski patrol, Dayton General Hospital and doctors, she said. She also looked into weather and road conditions on the day Hunter died.

Culwell did not release the report in its entirety, describing it as confidential.

Family members could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Hunter’s mother, Dominique Meserve, previously told the Herald that he went snowboarding for the first time the day he fell. The accident took place after lunch.

When the ski patrol first got to Hunter shortly after 12:15 p.m., he was conscious and able to communicate, according to Ski Bluewood officials. First responders called for a helicopter evacuation but weather conditions were too bad.

Hunter was eventually taken by ambulance to Dayton General’s emergency room, where he died at 3:10 p.m.

He was an eighth-grader at Columbia Middle School in Burbank. His school held a spirit week in his honor. Classmates wrote messages on sidewalks and decorated a field he played football on, among other remembrances.

Family members said Hunter was an avid sportsman who moved from Kennewick to Burbank because of his passion for the outdoors.

Family and friends held a memorial service for Hunter on Saturday at Columbia High School in Burbank.

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