American jury considers contentious case
A U.S. jury are considering the contentious case of a fatal collision between a speedboat traveling at 50 MPH and a sailing boat barely making headway which left the helmsman of the yacht charged with manslaughter.
Five yachtsmen were injured – one later died from her injuries – following a collision between the 27 ft sloop and a 24 ft speed boat at night on an American lake.
The O’Day sailing boat was barely making headway in light winds when she was struck by the Baja Outlaw speedboat driven by three powerboaters.
According to forensics experts, the 385-hp Baja ramped over the sailingboat and crushed the cabin bulkhead, leaving prop marks across the deck. Much of the cabin top was caved in and the boat’s aluminum mast was sheared completely off at the base. The Baja exited on the port bow. Although the O’Day was rolled heavily to starboard and had taken on water, both boats remained afloat.
All five people on the sailboat suffered injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to broken ribs and concussions. A 51-year-old woman, Lyn Thornton, who was the fiancée of the boat’s owner, Mark Weber, died a few days later from her injuries.
After a brief investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, 39-year-old Bismark Dinius, who had been at the helm of the sailboat, was charged with manslaughter and now faces up to four years in jail. The driver of the powerboat, Deputy Sheriff Russell Perdock, was not charged. Perdock is the number two official at the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.
Claims have been made that the sailing boat was not properly lit and that parties on both boats had consumed alcohol.