ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA (WAFB) - A months-long investigation by the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office and the Office of State Fire Marshal into the collapse of an obstacle at the 2016 Warrior Dash Louisiana event that injured nearly two-dozen participants has resulted in charges being filed.
The incident occurred on October 8, 2016 at the West Feliciana Sports Complex in St. Francisville where the event, billed as an intense 5K run where contestants traverse a series of twelve obstacles spaced throughout the course, was held. There were just under 6,500 individuals registered to participate in the event, which was organized and promoted by Chicago-based Red Frog Events, LLC.
Near the end of the daylong event, one obstacle, the Diesel Dome, a large, wooden-ribbed structure, resembling a semi-geodesic dome, collapsed while a number of participants were in the process of navigating the structure. More than twenty people were injured in the collapse, with some suffering very serious injuries.
Investigators learned that Red Frog Events, LLC hired two contracting firms, Peterson Builders and North South Renovations, both headquartered in North Carolina, to build the obstacles along the 5K course. Neither company held a license in Louisiana to engage in the business of contracting, as is required by law, and both were subsequently fined by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.
The investigation established that the structural collapse, causing the injuries, was the result of shoddy construction. Also uncovered through investigation was a failure, on the part of Red Frog Events, LLC staff, to properly monitor the construction of the obstacles and to ensure that safety and emergency procedures were being followed during the event.
Those charged include: Marcus M. Edwards, 47, of Charlotte, North Carolina; Daniel L. Lauber, 47, also of Charlotte, North Carolina; Megan E. Gaseor, 25, of Norridge, Illinois; Mary A. Kreke, 24, of Frederick, Maryland; and Emily A. Littlejohn, 27, of Dayton, New Jersey.
Edwards and Lauber were charged with the crimes of Negligent Injuring (13 counts) and Engaging in Business of Contracting Without Authority. Gaseor, Kreke, and Littlejohn are charged with the crime of Negligent Injuring (13 counts).
In the coming weeks, all five are expected to turn themselves in at which time they will be booked on the charges.
The matter is now in the hands of 20th Judicial District Attorney Samuel C. D'Aquilla.