CLATSOP COUNTY, Ore. - A fisherman who had to jump into the Columbia River to avoid being crushed in a boating crash has filed a lawsuit against the person who was captaining the other vessel.
Clatsop County Sheriff’s Department said that the motor boat driver, Marlin Lee Larsen, 75, was sitting down while driving his boat and that he couldn’t see over the dash when he crashed into the fishing boat that Bryan Maess, 47, and two other friends were on, Oregon Live reported.
A GoPro camera captured the crash that happened in August. Christopher McMahon, one of Maess’ friends, waved his arms and yelled, trying to get Larsen’s attention. When that didn’t work, and it was apparent that the larger boat was going to crash into theirs, Maess, McMahon and Roni Durham jumped into the water.
Investigators found that if they had not abandoned ship, the friends would have been injured or even killed.
Maess, however, was injured by jumping into the water and being hit by debris, including injuries to his ankle, leg and arm, vision problems and headaches. He still wears a knee brace, according to the lawsuit, in which he is suing Larsen for $372,500, Oregon Live reported.
McMahon and Durham have not filed suit yet, but have started the process. Both are said to have suffered hypothermia and cuts. Durham claims she has suffered psychological trauma and hasn’t been on a boat since the accident.
Larsen’s son-in-law was on the boat driven by Larsen at the time of the crash. He told police that he warned Larsen to pay attention and that he had seen his father-in-law on his cellphone in the past, including the day of, but not at the time of, the accident.
Larsen told Oregon Live that he wasn’t using the device while he was driving the boat and that the allegations were “fake news.” He also said that the lawsuit, in his opinion, was not necessary since the other people were not hurt badly.
Larsen also has a criminal case filed against him, in which he has pleaded not guilty to reckless operation of a boat, fourth-degree assault and recklessly endangering the lives of others, Oregon Live reported.
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