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Lawsuit over ex-teen pageant winner's fatal boating mishap

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the male driver of a boat that crashed into a docked houseboat, killing a 21-year-old former teen beauty passenger riding in his vehicle. Also named as defendants in the boating accident lawsuit were the man's parents and the family's company. The accident also resulted in the death of a 21-year-old man riding in the boat. There has not yet been any lawsuit reported as filed concerning his death.

The woman who died was a current university student. The houseboat that was crashed into was unoccupied at the time of the accident. Each year, many Missouri residents are killed or seriously injured in boating accidents. In this case, the two deaths resulted in both the current pending civil lawsuit and the filing of criminal charges – two counts of first degree homicide – against the boat's driver. He was ordered to be released pending trial after posting $25,000 in bail set by the court.

Factors in the accident were reported to have including the intoxication of the boat's driver, traveling at an excessive rate of speed, and distracted operation of the boat. These factors are similar to those that cause many car accidents each year. The legal limit for use of alcohol while operating a boat is 0.08 measured blood alcohol. Authorities said that the boat driver's blood alcohol level was over double that level, registering at 0.18. The boat was said to have been traveling at a speed of 45 to 50 miles per hour.

Experienced personal injury attorneys investigate the facts of an accident to determine the proper parties to sue for damages. In this case, the boat was not owned by the boat's driver, but a corporation belonging to his family. The assets of the company were allegedly liquidated after the accident, according to the plaintiffs, who argue that this was an improper attempt to make those assets unavailable to satisfy any court award.

Source: The Grove Sun, "Family files wrongful death lawsuit in connection to fatal boating accident" Sheila Stogsdill, Jan. 31, 2014

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