Hang-glider pilot William Jonathan Orders appeared in a Chilliwack courtroom Monday morning, on two charges relating to the death of Lenami Godinez-Avila.
While Orders was originally charged with obstructing justice, for swallowing a memory card containing video images of the fatal launch, he has now also been charged with criminal negligence causing death.
Godinez-Avila, 27, died near Agassiz on April 28, 2012, when she fell from a hang-glider being piloted by Orders. As it was the government worker’s first time hang-gliding, she was flying tandem with Orders.
Shortly after launch, at Mt. Woodside, Orders apparently realized something had gone wrong and Godinez was slipping out of her harness.
He was unable to hold onto her, however, and she was unable to hold onto his legs.
The woman came free from the harness and fell about 1,000 ft to her death.
At the scene, Orders swallowed a memory card that was used that day to record the event. He was charged with obstruction of justice for that action, and held in police custody for several days until the card could be retrieved.
Following the death, Orders issued a public apology and announced that he would not return to hang gliding. While the investigation into Godinez-Avila’s death was completed last year, the results have not yet been released.
While trial confirmation was set last June, Orders’ lawyer, Laird Cruickshank, asked the court to allow time to consider the new charges. Cruickshank also requested that a condition be removed that requires his client to attend all court dates, which was granted.
The case will be heard next on March 12, with the possibility of a preliminary hearing in mid-April.