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Mike Myers
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Boating Deaths–Criminal Charges and Civil Actions

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The news this weekend was filled with reports of boating accidents and, unfortunately, deaths.  
East of the mountains there was news of an ongoing criminal prosecution.  Michael Nethercutt is accused of killing Edward Gilbert in a boating accident.

Gilbert, 74, was killed when Nethercutt’s boat hit his anchored cabin cruiser as he was pulling in a dinghy.
Gilbert was the founder of Hubby’s Pizza in Kennewick.

His wife, Patricia, 72, suffered a broken rib in the crash.

Prosecutors allege that Nethercutt was driving his boat on the Columbia River at 40 mph while intoxicated at four times the legal limit of alcohol.

At least 52 empty beer cans and two empty liquor bottles were found on Nethercutt’s boat, according to court documents. He had been out on the water with his wife and two other passengers, a mother and son.

The crash happened near Two Rivers Park in Finley.

Closer to home, a shocking accident on Lake Washington:

Seattle police are continuing to investigate a fatal boat crash near Seward Park in Lake Washington east of Seattle.

A 37-year-old woman died and three people were injured after dark Saturday night when a speedboat hit the stern of a sailboat.

Witnesses said the speedboat went up over the stern and hit the woman, KIRO 7 reported.
Police Officer Renee S. Witt said the woman died on impact.

The 17-year-old driver of the speedboat and his companion, a 16-year-old girl, were treated for minor injuries.

A 45-year-old man on the sailboat was taken to Harborview Medical Center with a back injury. A third man on the sailboat escaped injury.

These boating accidents–just like many if not most accents on land–involved alcohol, speed and inexperience.  But they have added complexities.  The accident on Lake Washington falls under maritime law.  And there are complicated insurance issues involved in both cases.  What seem like straightforward cases actually have layers of complexity and the outcome of both depend on the dexterity with which those layers are peeled back and addressed.