OC Fire Authority Seeks $55k as "Victim" of "Crime" by Rescued Teen Hiker Nic Cendoya

nicholas-cendoya-hospital_square.jpg
Nic Cendoya
Under Marsy's Law, the California Victims Bill of Rights championed by county Supervisor Todd Spitzer, the Orange County Fire Authority wants $55,000 spent to rescue teenage hikers who got lost in Trabuco Canyon Easter Sunday.

A legal brief to that end the OCFA filed Wednesday contains this bombshell: Nicolas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, allegedly admitted taking hallucinogenic drugs before and during their hike.

It's worth noting that both teens, from their respective hospitals, talked of visions they saw while lost, parched and separated. Heck, the fact they were lost for days in a relatively easy area to hike caused much speculation in the Navel Gazing peanut gallery that they must've been on something.

It's also worth nothing that Spitzer came down hard on the Costa Mesa pair immediately after their ordeal--and before it was disclosed publicly that the rescue cost government agencies $160,000 and that sheriff's deputies had allegedly found methamphetamine in Cendoya's car while he was still lost.

A law that would have allowed recovery of the full $160,000 expired in 1999, but the Orange County Board of Supervisors Spitzer sits on approved a draft of a bill they want Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) to sponsor so counties can once again receive that kind of compensation.

Kyndall Jack
The OCFA maintains it is entitled to recover its chunk of costs from the rescue operation because of a law that is already on the books. Under Marsy's Law, the agency's lawyers contend, it is a victim of the crime Cendoya has been charged with: possession of 497 milligrams of meth.

"People have got to be careful," OCFA Division Chief Kris Concepcion tells City News Service. "It is not a victimless crime as some people might think, because it caused a great deal of not just cost, but as you know, it resulted in injuries to a couple of people while they were out looking for Nic Cendoya. If it weren't for his criminal activity we wouldn't be doing that."

Nick Papageorge's, a 20-year-old volunteer who helped in the search, is also using Marsy's Law to seek financial compensation for his back surgery and a week in the hospital he says cost about $350,000. He had titanium screws put in his back after he fell about 110 feet from a cliff.

The judge could consider the Marsy's Law claims at Cendoya's scheduled July 12 arraignment.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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15 comments
lddalton24
lddalton24

So if no meth was found, and these 2 were "model citizens", would there be any attempts to recoup losses? Does society now need to determine who is "worthy" of tax-payer supported rescue and the unworthy either have to pay or don't get rescued? Our tax money seems to buy so much hypocrisy now, what a bargain! And Mr Papageorge apparently was in this for some type of payment, at the very least to have his medical bills paid for his incompetence in falling off the cliff! It seems we need to ensure our "volunteers" are competent enough to be in the terrain before we let them out!

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

And for the person who injured his back - why wasn't this good man properly insured by the organization that used him. Oh let me guess - to not spend the money- the more to snort up your nose in your Newport Beach villa.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Here we go again. The colossal hypocrites of Orange County law enforcement/fire trying to hold the 2 day mistake of two youths for 160,000 dollars while covering up the 15+ year - multi million dollar disaster of Stan Knee / Brad Gates / Randall Gaston / CHP and Hoover hooters of the FBI. Not to mention the wasted police man hours flushed down the toilet.

I call these people worse than Bernie Madoff for several reasons and this is one of them. The criminal arrogance is as stunning to me today as when this garbage first started.

Justin Henretta
Justin Henretta

nope, Im pretty sure it was just rocks... meth rocks.

diabloroker
diabloroker

Quite a bit of typo's in this article.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Scumbag public employees. Your bloated salaries and pensions for doing your job aren't enough?!? You sue a homeowner whose fire you fight too? Fire these losers and make it a volunteer fire department. Plenty will do that job for nothing but a thank you. 

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

This seems like over reach to me. Todd Spitzer claim of "reckless" behavior causing this is too vague. How does one define reckless?

Sean Soto
Sean Soto

Dafuq is wrong with y'all's Facebook settings? I can't share your posts on my wall!

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@lddalton24

"Does society now need to determine who is "worthy" of tax-payer supported rescue...?"  

Yes, it does.  I pay taxes, and I want the $$ to go to rescues that are not due to reckless conduct.  Honestly, if it was me, I would be ashamed if something I did recklessly cost others so much money.  I wouldn't hesitate to pull together the funds to pay for it.  But for something truly freakish -- for example, a huge wave that sweeps a bunch of people away from the shallower part of a beach -- I don't think taxpayers like myself have any problem knowing that our $$ is being used for services that try to protect all of us from the worst outcome of such things.  

Just think, if the government agencies involved didn't receive so many dents in their funds for rescues related to reckless behavior, $$ in their budgets might ultimately get appropriated to education, e.g. keeping college tuition down.  How do you think the 19-22 y.o.s out there who struggle to afford the UC and Cal State experience feel about 2 of their peers wasting tax money for their own personal high? 

I'm not anti-meth...I'm anti- paying for the consequences of others' use of meth.   

SickSnale
SickSnale

@vegandawg23 When the homeowner burns his house down cooking meth, yes, they sue him, you moron........... One day you're in here supporting predatory lenders and the next day you are going to bat for meth heads whose stupidity landed a guy in the emergency room with 350k in medical bills and saddled the tax payers with another 160k in rescue bills. You may be the most ironic person in the history of the internet.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@vegandawg23  

Couldn't disagree more.  While the OCFA might be stretching the interpretation of Marsy's Law, I think the right thing to do would be for these 2 hikers to pay the cost of their recklessness 

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@paullucas714  

reckless - doing something with little or no regard for the potential consequences 

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