The family of a University of Utah molecular biologist who was killed while swimming in the Pineview Reservoir has filed a wrongful death suit against the three men in the boat who ran her over. Esther Fujimoto, an avid swimmer, was hit and killed by the boat on August 21st while swimming 200 to 300 feet offshore. The wrongful death suit was filed in a Utah state court against Skyler Shepherd, Colton Raines and Robert Cole Boyer.
The suit alleges that Boyer was driving the boat when it hit Ms. Fujimoto. The propeller “tore into her torso and lower abdomen, causing critical injuries,” according to the suit. It was further alleged that Boyer and Raines had smoked marijuana prior to the accident and that all three had consumed alcohol. The boat turned around after Ms. Fujimoto was hit and a witness heard one of the boaters yell, “Hey lady, are you all right?” It was alleged that the Defendants talked to the decedent, but did not offer to help her and left the scene. The decedent was left in the water bleeding and severely injured. The suit contends the three men failed their “duty” to use “reasonable care” to avoid an accident by “operating the power boat in a negligent and reckless manner,” driving under the influence, failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to help Ms. Fujimoto after hitting her, and failing to get help for her. The Defendants were accused of willful and malicious conduct.
Safety on the waterways in this country doesn’t get the attention that highway safety does. But the consequences of negligent or willful conduct by boat operators can be just as bad.
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