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Fence meant for safety may have been factor in fatality

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Updated: 1/04/2013 4:49 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Something that was intended for safety, ended up being deadly for one child who went sledding on New Year’s Day.

Vanesa Lara, 11, was involved in an accident sledding in Lee Canyon, where a fence was recently erected.

Just like so many children, Lara couldn’t resist the snow and went up beyond the very large metal fence that Clark County installed last October to slide down the snowy hills.

“The girls were sledding alongside the fence. They lost control and the sled ultimately ran into the fence,” said Officer Jose Hernandez with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Lara later died at the hospital.

Erik Pappa of Clark County says the fence hasn’t been up that long.

“The intent of the fence is to tell people not to go beyond it. Beyond the fence it gets very dangerous.

The slope is more steep. There are lots of trees. There are lots of obstacles. There are lots of dangers beyond the fence,” Pappa said.

He did not address any potential county liability. However he did say signs were posted warning about the dangers.

“But obviously we've done a lot: put up warning signs, we want people if they're going to sled there to do it safely,” Pappa said.

Not only were trespassing and warning signs posted by the fence, there were warning signs posted about potential dangers around the sledding area.

This huge metal fence was actually the third fence erected at this slope.

“The first fence was plastic. The skiing fence that collapses, that lasted one day. It was torn down in the first day of snow season. The second fence was a wood fence and that lasted about a week, and so this fence is obviously much more permanent,” Pappa said.

Debbie McDonald, a mother who brought her sons this week to do some sledding noticed the fairly new fence right away.

“I like that. That’s a good safety feature too,” she said.

Somehow Vanesa Lara’s sled collided with the somewhat permanent structure.

“This was a tragic event and our hearts are with this little girl's family but I think something to take away from this is the dangers that are out there,” said Officer Hernandez.

Authorities stress the snow can turn as hard as concrete, so they urge kids to wear helmets and obey the warning signs.

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