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Old 09-06-2007, 20:46   #16
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Some interesing responses . . .

The responses to this point have been interesting, to say the least. I want to add a piece of information to the discussion, from a report just after the accident. It states that the vessels collided head on.

I've tried to place myself on both vessels to gauge what I might have done, but I confess that I've never operated a speed boat in the 40mph range the one in question was alleged to have been going, nor have I operated one at night. I have operated small sailboats in zephyrs, though, and know that in such conditions the boat has so little way on that it is virtually dead-in-the-water, adrift.

In that there was drinking occurring on the sailboat following an earlier race (yes, I know some here are shocked! shocked! to learn that drinking sometimes takes place aboard a sailing vessel), and the boat was basically drifting, I wonder what options the sailboat crew had. I wonder what any one of us at the helm in those conditions would have done if we even had time to figure out that the fast approaching roar might actually mean an impending collision. I've been "buzzed" many times by speed boats and jet skis, the operators of which seem to find it good sport to veer off at the last second, usually throwing a wall of water onto the sailing party.

Drunk or not, how can the helmsman, a guest on the boat, be deemed solely responsible for the tragic death of a fellow guest in these circumstances. It wasn't his boat, first of all, and its systems were the responsibility of the owner, who was also aboard. And, unless the sailboat had auxiliary power and it was running, he would have had no possibility of steering clear once he realized a collision was likely.

I think Kai Nui is closest to understanding how this case would be judged in an admiralty court. But since the accident occurred on a large lake in northern California, the local DA gets to decide how to apply "justice."

How fortunate for the off-duty sheriff's deputy.

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Old 09-06-2007, 21:11   #17
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Drunk or not, how can the helmsman, a guest on the boat, be deemed solely responsible for the tragic death of a fellow guest in these circumstances. It wasn't his boat, first of all, and its systems were the responsibility of the owner, who was also aboard. And, unless the sailboat had auxiliary power and it was running, he would have had no possibility of steering clear once he realized a collision was likely.
I guess we all missed the point once again:

The guys on the sailboat was either too drunk or too stupid to turn on the lights.
If the lights did not work they should have lit a lantern or a flash-light to warn approaching vessels.

Being under 12 Meters they were excempt to show red over red as in Vessel not Under Command, but still required to show regular navigation lights. (Sorry Kau Nui)

Yes, the power boat was going fast, but what was the visibility?
1/4 NM...4NM, 10 0r 20 NM?
In clear conditions at night you should see a boat under 40 feet 1 NM away if you are running at 40 knots....About a minutte and a half if you look out the window.
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Old 09-06-2007, 21:51   #18
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Originally Posted by CSY Man
Yes, the power boat was going fast, but what was the visibility?
1/4 NM...4NM, 10 0r 20 NM?
In clear conditions at night you should see a boat under 40 feet 1 NM away if you are running at 40 knots....About a minutte and a half if you look out the window.
I wish I could provide the answer to your questions on visability, DH, but I don't have that information. Assuming, as you suggest, that an observant crewmember on either vessel could have spotted the other at 1 NM and that 90 seconds existed to steer clear, surely it is the operator of the speed boat (who is presumably looking forward) and has infinitely more maneuverability than the sailboat drifting under slack sails who bears at least some responsibility for running the sailboat down and killing a person aboard the stricken vessel.

Similarly, the owner of the sailboat should bear some responsibility for the tragic accident. He was 50% drunker than his guest at the helm, if drunkeness is the issue, but it is the lack of running lights that implicates him, in my mind. It is possible, even likely, that all five crew aboard the sailboat were drinking, probably lounging in the cockpit reprising the race they'd just sailed, perhaps all talking at once and loud music playing - probably not unlike other occasions aboard the vessel.

Then, from dead ahead in the dark, a roaring engine gets closer, and closer. Of course, from the cockpit of the small sailboat, it's almost impossible to see around the slack sails, let alone discern that the source of the increasingly loud engine is headed right at the sailboat, and will strike them unless they get out of the way. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that none of the crew aboard the sailboat knew a collision was a possibility until the accident actually occurred.

That the poor girl who died paid the ultimate price for an unfortunate sequence of events is tragic, indeed. That the person sitting in the cockpit with his hand on the tiller is deemed 100% responsible for her death is no less tragic. And that the drunken sailboat owner, as well as the careless operator of the power boat, are deemed utterly blameless is unfathomable.

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Old 10-06-2007, 00:09   #19
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I think the simple answer is one of the primary rules of boating.

You must keep an adaquate watch at all times.

Wether the yacht had lights on or not the driver of any vessel is required by maritime law to keep an adaquate watch. The sheriff (whomever) obviously didn't.

We have a recent case very similar here. Fizz boat runs over kayak at sunset, no body killed but it happened right at the enterance to the Sth Pacifics biggest marina. It was ruled that martime law says all boats should have proper lights and so on but a 'primary rule' (there is only 4 or so of them) states no matter what you have to keep a proper watch. Watchkeeping is more important than having your lights on.

In the case here the kayak didn't have lights and at sunset was close to invisable. The fizz boat was aware he was in a harbour and boats use the harbour also kayaks are boats. It was deemed that knowing there was a possiblity a boat could be there he should have been driving so as to be able to see and avoid it if neccesary. He was going full titty so couldn't have seen a kayak if one was there, one was and he plowed over it, he was found to be at fault. The general boating public seem to completely agree.

The twist? The boat at fault was a patrol boat of the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron, the one challanging for the AC next week. Twist part 2, the driver was the Vice Commadore.

In this case the Sheriff should have know there was a possiblity of boats being out there, especially if there was a race on. He was driving to fast to see and avoid a yacht that could have been, in this case was, there.

He was wrong, ping the bugger!
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Old 10-06-2007, 23:16   #20
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It really is hard to stick to "facts in evidence."

Sailboat operator (tillerman) was responsible for the operation of the boat. Ownership doesn't matter. Otherwise every fat cat with a large crewed boat would be responsible at all times. So let's not talk about the owner of the sailboat at all any longer. If someone lets you helm their boat you are responsible to comply with the rules. If you don't want that responsibility don't take the helm.

The operator was operating a sailboat and was definitely underway but maybe not making way. Regardless as far as we know it was operating under sail only and had the right of way over powerboats.

Mitigating factor 1 is that it was night and the sailboat was not displying lighting. The operator was clearly in violation of the law.

Mitigating factor 2 is that the operator was drunk. Could be a violation of the law.

Watch responsibility - Was there adequate watch on the sailboat and the powerboat? The sailboat watch was probably drunk so I would suggest that the sailboat clearly did not have adequate watch. Powerboats can be operated solo and no one suggests the operator of the powerboat was impaired so an easy case for an adequate watch exists.

Safe operation - For a number of reasons the sailboat was not being operated safely for the conditions (night) and anybody who can be considered crew was impaired.

Was the powerboat speeding or operating too fast for conditions? It was night, there is no speed limit that we have determined. 40 MPH may seem fast to you but high speed ferries operate at similar speeds all over the world at night. The speedboat operator had a reasonable right to expect other boats to display lights at night. Forget the sailboat was visible "90 seconds" before impact. At 40 MPH 90 seconds is 1 mile. I doubt you could see a sailboat - head on, luffing sails - at 1 mile in the dark. 1000 feet? That's generous and still only 18 seconds. And at night it takes time to understand what you are looking at. That's the whole reason for lights! To give people more time to see and avoid.

I think the case is proceeding correctly. Shame on us for defending a sailboat operator just because he was a sailboat operator.

This makes an escellent case for licensing. Here in singapore you cannot operate any powered vessel regardless of engine size without taking a Maritimne course, passing a written test and a practical exam. Even your 2hp tender, a jetski or a sailboat with an outboard "even if under sail only." If it has a motor you need a license. Insurance takes care of the rest. no one will rent you a sailboat without a motor here unless you have completed a sailing course.

Lessons learned -
Don't helm the boat unless you have agreed to the responsibility.
For pete's sake run the lights at night - not working? Stay home!
If you are underway don't be drunk and do not drink.
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Old 11-06-2007, 00:07   #21
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You have some good points there but seem to have ignored the fact the fizz boat hit the yacht. To have hit it he must have either not seen it or been just an idiot. I doubt he is that much of an idiot.

So he did not see it. If he did not see it he was not keeping an adaquate watch. You must keep a watch, simple, it's like no. 2 or 3 in the rules.

Not having lights on is a mitigating factor but does not absolve him of all blame. That has been argued on many occasions around the world many times.

Sure the driver (as you correctly pointed out) of the yacht should be hauled over the coals but so should the fizz boat. Both have to share a portion of the blame. Not taking the fizz driver in front of the judge as well looks very dodgy.

If the fizz boat driver did actually see the yacht 90 seconds earlier (and I have no idea if he did, just saw it mentioned above) he is an idiot and should be locked up.
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:05   #22
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Regardless of the actual law, I think its an interesting argument over what liability a boat has over not displaying lights at night. Should the lack of lights absolve the power boater from his responsibility? If it doesn't (meaning he is at fault) then what is the liability of the sailboat.

Again, regardless of the law, I think that the lack of lights should not completely absolve the powerboater of his liability. Running so blind is not responsible.

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Old 11-06-2007, 14:23   #23
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"Ownership doesn't matter." Perhaps not in Cali, I wouldn't know. Some of the US States still have what are called "vicarious liability" laws for motor vehicles, which leave the *owner* liable regardless of all other matters.

These laws were originally created in the early days of motor vehicles to ensure that the owner took care of who he lent the vehicle to. And they are now infamous because they have allowed lease companies (like GMAC) to be held liable for the actions of people who lease cars. Resulting in the major car companies withdrawing completely from the lucrative lease market in several states, in order to avoid the huge drunk-driving suits that came out of this--against the owners.

The same legacy of motor vehicle laws will cover unlit vehicles--boats or cars--operating during hours when lighting is required. The guy who hits you may be responsible for going too fast and exceeding his vision, but the guy who didn't display the required lights automatically becomes responsible for his failure to meet that requirement, and partial liability is placed on him BY LAW, so that's one argument the two parties can't use to slow down the eventual jury trial of assigning the parts and the damages.
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Old 11-06-2007, 14:43   #24
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The latest . . .

From the current 'Lectronic Latitude, here's the latest on this case:

A Great Injustice

June 11 - Mill Valley
We've received a lot of mail about Friday's 'Lectronic report on the Lake County D.A.'s indictment of Bismarck Dinius, the crewman at the helm of a sailboat involved in a fatal collision on Clear Lake last May. People were outraged at the facts as we understood them at the time, and clearly believe this to be a travesty of justice.
Some of the notes came from insurance industry professionals who refute District Attorney Jon E. Hopkins' assertion that "there is no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" exactly how fast Chief Sheriff Deputy Russ Perdock's powerboat was going when it collided with the O'Day 27 Beats Working II, resulting in the death of Lynn Thornton. These professionals, who do this sort of thing every day, say it is indeed possible to tell with reasonable accuracy how fast a vessel was traveling based on the damage to the boats involved, and that D.A. Hopkins' claim is hogwash.
Other readers noted that the same California Harbors and Navigation Code that D.A. Hopkins quoted in explaining why he indicted Dinius says clearly that "A safe speed should be maintained at all times so that: a) action can be taken to avoid collision and b) the boat can stop within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. In restricted visibility, motorboats should have the engines ready for immediate maneuvering. An operator should be prepared to stop the vessel within the space of half the distance of forward visibility." On the moonless night of April 26, 2006, the powerboat should have been going much slower than it apparently was.
Lastly, many of those who wrote pointed out a basic right-of-way principle: the sailboat had the right of way. Indeed, state law does appear to incorporate the USCG Navigational Rules, including Rule 18 (a) iv: "A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of a sailing vessel."
This story is going to get a lot of attention and we intend to follow it closely as we and many others feel a great injustice is being done. If you were on the boat, or saw the accident, we would love to talk to you. Email Richard.
- latitude / rs & ld
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Old 13-06-2007, 15:46   #25
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The latest, as of June 13, 2007 . . .

From the latest edition of 'Lectronic Latitude comes the most up-to-date information on this tragic accident. Note that the current info states that the powerboat overran the sailboat from directly astern, not from dead ahead as I reported above (which came from an account published at the time of the accident).

Lynn Thornton, 1955-2006

http://www.latitude38.com/LectronicL...une13/Lynn.JPG As an investigator for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Lynn Thornton was a peace officer, and her role was to protect California consumers by conducting criminal investigations into dentists and doctors who violated codes, be they professional, business or penal. She had retired a little less than a month before she was killed in a boating accident on Clear Lake.
A longtime friend describes Thornton as "being one of those kinds of people everybody wants to be best friends with." She had a son who was 19 at the time of accident. Thornton's kidney was donated to a nephew, who had gone into kidney failure.
Thornton's estate is being represented by Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy, a law firm with offices in Burlingame, Beverly Hills, New York, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere.


We don't know if Bismarck Dinius of Carmichael is young or old, white or black, a saint or a meth addict. But the one thing that we believe for certain is that he's been wrongly accused of vehicular manslaughter, thanks to what seems to be either the gross incompetence and/or corruption on the part of Lake County District Attorney Jon Hopkins and Sgt. Charles Slabaugh of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. See if you don't agree with us, and as a result, if your faith in California law enforcement and legal system isn't rocked.

Dinius' crime? He was sitting at the helm of an all but stationary sailboat, the boat's owner just a few feet away, when a local off-duty deputy sheriff on a powerboat came from almost directly behind, in the black of night, at a speed of between 40 to 55 mph and, without slowing, slammed into the sailboat with tremendous force. The immediate result was severe head trauma that would claim her life a few days later to a just-retired 51-year-old female peace officer on the sailboat, the dismasting of the sailboat, and severe damage to both boats. That the joy-riding deputy hasn't been charged - and, in fact, is still working as a deputy sheriff - is an outrage and a terrible indictment of what's supposed to be an apolitical legal system. That the hapless Dinius should be facing years in prison as well as a large fine and restitution for the death of the passenger on the sailboat is inexplicable. If anyone on the sailboat should have been charged - and they shouldn't -- it was the owner, who was right there.
The case we're referring to, of course, is the one that took place on Clear Lake on the evening of April 26, 2006. The sailboat involved was the O'Day 27 sailboat Beats Working II, owned by Mark Weber of Willows, with passengers Lynn Thornton, also of Willows, who was Weber's fianceť, and Henry Dominguez and Zina Dotti, both of Santa Rosa. Henry and Zina were on the boat because they'd met the gregarious Thornton during a golf outing the day before. Weber was a longtime sailor, and Thornton had taken to the sport after meeting Weber about five years ago. In fact, the two were planning a sailing trip to Santa Barbara that summer.
The Baja 24, powered by a 385-hp Mercruiser V-8, was owned by Russell Perdock of Clear Lake, one of the most senior members of the Lake County Sheriff's Department. His two passengers were friend Jim Walker of El Dorado Hills, and Walker's 14-year-old daughter.
April 26 was a normal enough day for everyone. In the morning, Perdock, a den leader, took a group of 10 Webelos on a three-mile hike, and from 5 to 6:30 p.m., celebrated his son's birthday at a local pizza parlor. As for the folks on the O'Day 27, they'd competed in the Konocti Half Cup Race, taking second place in division. As it was a nice night, the folks on the O'Day stayed on the lake, drifting around and enjoying some cocktails.
About 9 p.m., Perdock asked Walker and his daughter if they wanted to take a run on his powerboat. They said yes. Perdock had just finished getting the boat right, and would be taking her out for the first time that season.
As for what happened after that, Perdock testified to Sacramento County Sheriff Investigator Charles Slabaugh, by the time they got going, it was completely dark and there was no moon out. Nonetheless, he admits to bringing his boat up to a speed of 40 to 45 mph. (The two witnesses cited by the investigator both said that Perdock was going too fast for the conditions, and one estimated his speed at 50 to 55 mph.) After going at this speed for a minute or two, the collision occured. "I didn't see the boat, sails or any lights," Perdock said. "It was just there."
In a couple of seemingly very damning statements, Perdock said, "I feel very comfortable when I'm driving my boat on the lake at night. That's why I don't believe the speed at which I was going was unsafe. It was not fast. I have done that more times than I could count. I was in an open part of the lake and saw no danger."
While he couldn't see any danger - because it was black, because his eyes were no doubt watering at that speed - he had every reason to believe it could be out there. "I have been out on the lake during the darkness in the past and have seen boats with no lights on, so I watch for them."
In other words, he knew there very likely were unlit boats on the lake at night yet, despite the fact visibility was practically nil, he felt that 40 to 45 mph - if not 55 mph - was not "unsafe". Where was his lawyer when he was saying incriminating stuff like that?
How does Perdock watch our for unlit boats? "I can use the lighting of the object, like Richmond Park, to help me see other boats or objects on the water that may not be lighted. The lights silhouette the object and I can avoid it."
Nonesense. If Perdock is coming up from behind on another vessel - as he, in fact, was doing - all he would be able to see is the small white stern light. The last thing he'd want to do is try to find a stern light among brighter background lights. If anything, he'd want to head toward blackness, where a small stern light would be most evident. But Perdock claimed that the background lights would allow him to see the silhouette of unlit boats against the background lights. To a very limited sense that's possible, but at up to 55 mph on a black night?
Was the sailboat showing her running lights, as required by law? Witnesses have given conflicting reports. It's also been reported that a cabin light was on, which would almost certainly have made the boat more visible than just the stern light.
Perdock ended his statement by saying the whole tragedy could have been avoided "if they'd flicked on a lighter or something." Or maybe if he'd been traveling at a safe speed for the conditions, which we figure would have been about 5 to 10 mph.
So how does Dinius fit into all this? In the crowded cockpit of the 27-footer, he happened to be the guy holding onto the tiller at the time of impact. And he had a blood alcohol level of .12, which is above the legal limit of .08. For what it's worth, the legal limit in California used to be .15, was lowered to .10, and is currently .08. Weber, the boat's owner, who was stepping down into the cabin at the time of the impact, was found to have a blood alcohol level of .18.
Based on the self-incriminating testimony of Deputy Perdock, what did Sacramento County Sheriff's Investigator Slabaugh recommend? That Dinius - not Perdock - be charged with vehicular manslaughter, and that Weber be charged with manslaughter. As for Perdock, who Investigator Slabaugh was nice enough to travel all the way to the Lake County Sheriff's Office to interview, Slabaugh recommended no charges. Many people are outraged, not only because Perdock was not charged, but because he's still a deputy sheriff.
But D.A. Hopkins didn't follow the recommendations of Investigator Slabaugh, instead just filed charges against Dinius. We're thinking that he's using a 'gotcha' strategy. For under Chapter 5, Article 1 and section 651 of the California Boating Law, the 'operator of a vessel' is defined as the "person on board is steering the vessel while underway." As such, Dinius, because he was at the helm and therefore the operator, and because his blood level was above .08, was boating under the influence, is easy prey for at least a conviction of driving under the influence.
There's a couple of things wrong with this. First, if you move waaaaay down through the California Boating Law, on page 247 to be exact, you'll find that 'operator' is also defined as "the person who operates or who has charge of the navigation or use of the vessel." This is the definition we think most mariners would concur with, and would mean Weber, not Dinius, might have been responsible in some small way.
But why the hell didn't the D.A. charge Perdock with vehicular manslaughter as a result of operating a boat recklessly? His exlanation/excuse to Latitude's LaDonna Bubak was, "It's impossible to prove the speed of the motorboat," and "We can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his speed was the cause of the accident."
Bullshit! Perdock admitted that he was traveling at 40 mph or more - which is 66 feet per second. Witnesses describe him as travelling at 55 mph, which is 84 feet per second. If you're a D.A. and you can't convince a jury that traveling at 84 feet per second across a pitch black lake known for unlit boats isn't reckless, you need to resign. Indeed, we think that D.A. Hopkins needs to turn the entire case over to the California District Attorney for complete investigation and prosecution, then resign. By the way, the statute of limitations that would apply to Perdock goes on for almost two more years. We also call on Deputy Perdock to resign. His continued presence is an outrage to the community he supposedly protects and serves.
What's going to happen now? There's no way in hell a 12 person jury is going to buy the D.A.'s charge that Dinius was the proximate cause of Thornton's death. It's so ridiculous we can't even imagine it going to court. Meanwhile, there are civil suits flying all over place, with everybody suing everybody else. It's a civil suit free-for-all.
But do you want to be disgusted one last time? Remember the proverbial little boy who murdered his parents and then begged the court for mercy because he was an orphan? Taking a page from that book, it's our understanding that Perdock has filed suit against Weber, blaming him for the accident, claiming that it resulted in him being divorced, suffering emotional distress and all the usual legal blather.
As angry as we are about the death of Thornton and the handling of this case, there's also the tragedy of Deputy Perdock to be considered. We may be wrong, but our intuition is that he's actually probably a pretty good guy. He was an Eagle Scout as a kid, takes the local kids for hikes, was there for his son's birthday, and served the community as a deputy. We might be the last person on earth who believes this, but we think the vast majority of people in law enforcement are pretty good people trying to do their best. We suspect that Perdock's a good guy who for a few seconds became reckless in pursuit of a minor endorphine rush. Yeah, he says he even disconnected the exhaust just before the accident so his boat would be real loud. And that pursuit of endorphins resulted in a tragic accident and the death of a wonderful woman. Suddenly, he became a desperate man who had to turn his fate over to a lawyer, who has to employ any and every strategy to get him off - even if it means taking the offensive by claiming he was the victim. To the best of our knowledge, Perdock hasn't even been able to say he's sorry. It can't be easy.
We've said it a million times - and Deputy Perdock should have known this better than anyone - speed kills. Please, be safe out there, on the water, on the roads - everywhere.
- latitude / rs
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Old 13-06-2007, 21:40   #26
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Being under 12 Meters they were excempt to show red over red as in Vessel not Under Command, but still required to show regular navigation lights. (Sorry Kau Nui)
A point not missed, but a point made. You can derive any conclusion you like when looking only at a select piece of a puzzle.
Here is a simplistic way to look at the status of the helmsman. Impaired or not, did his direct action or inaction contribute to the accident. So far, I have heard nothing that would indicate that it did. If the sail boat was becalmed, there would be very limited action that vessel could take to avoid collision. Was a flashlight shown on the sails? Not mentioned in the story, so I do not know. Was it reasonable for the sail boat to expect a vessel to be traveling in that area at that speed, and at that time? I have not sailed Clear Lake, so I can not say for sure, but it seems unlikely.
FWIW, if this were a slightly different situation, and a sail boat were motoring accross a lake, and ran over, say, a kayak, I would consider the same factors and would likely support the greater duty to be with the sail boat. The type of boat involved has little to do with my perspective of who is at fault.
I would also agree that the problem here is not with the Sheriff's Deputy, but with the judicial system that has presumed responsibility without consideration of the full facts of the accident.
I only hope Perdock and his family know the support they have from the boating community.
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Old 13-06-2007, 21:59   #27
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CA apparently does have vicarious liability laws which impose responsibility on the owner of the motor vehicle (sailboat with engine) AND it holds "joint and several" liability among all possible responsible parties. So, under CA law the "operator" of the motor vehicle "sailboat" would indeed be one of the pockets that the estate would fairly go after, assuming that the helmsman is considered to be "operating" the boat. Not showing any lights could be negligent operation--we just don't have enough information to know what they are dealing with, aside from looking for deep pockets.

the stink of "the blue wall" and the hints that no one is going after the speed boat opeartor just because he wears blue and a star...is sadly nothing new or unique. Cops don't realize that declaring non-cops to all be assholes is one of the worst things they can do. ("*******" being the usual and specific cop jargon for anyone not a cop or a skell, sad to say.

We can only hope the wheels of justice grind appropriately, with a jury.
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Old 15-06-2007, 13:20   #28
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Latest, June 15, 2007 . . .

From today's 'Lectronic Latitude, here's the latest . . .

What Can We Do?

June 15 - Clear Lake
We've received tremendous response to Wednesday's 'Lectronic report on the boating accident last year that resulted in the death of Lynn Thornton. People are outraged at the investigation and the fact that the Lake County D.A. hasn't indicted Deputy Perdock, the number two man in the Lake County Sheriff's Department and the man who was driving the motorboat between 40 and 55 mph when it struck Thornton aboard the O'Day 27 Beats Working II. Readers want to know what they can do and who they can write to. In order for such a campaign to be effective, it has to be accurately targeted and concentrated. At this point, we simply ask that you stand by until we can find out who best to send your objections.
Meanwhile, Dinius Bismarck, who didn't own the boat and just happened to be at the helm when it was rammed by the speeding powerboat, remains the only one to be charged. It's insane. "Bismarck is a good friend of ours and truly a good human, but this has devastated him and put his life on hold for the last year," wrote some friends. "Nothing can bring Thornton back, but making Bismarck hold all the cards is indeed a great injustice." You can say that again.
- latitude / rs


TaoJones
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Old 15-06-2007, 13:52   #29
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I don't believe a jury could find this man guilty of manslaughter based on what I've read in this thread, but this will have to go before one. I guess it's understandable that the DA charged the fella whos' case seems to be a slam dunk. He was legally drunk. What's regretable that he didn't cause the death of this lady, The Sheriff did.

I wonder if this is a case where the prosecuter is judged by his 'win ratio'?

Rick in Florida
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Old 15-06-2007, 14:06   #30
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And how tough he is on alcohol...
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