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Bobber Down

Hope this never happens to you.

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Bobber Down
Published on Jan 17, 2018

A salmon fisherman who abandoned ship by leaping into the frigid waters of the Columbia River last summer -- an instant before another motorboat crashed into his -- has filed a $372,500 lawsuit against the other driver.

Clatsop County sheriff’s deputies accused boat driver Marlin Lee Larsen of several crimes after the 75-year-old told investigators he couldn’t see where he was driving because he was sitting down and the dash of his boat was blocking his view. Larsen said he probably should have been standing, according to the sheriff’s report, which notes Larsen uses a motorized scooter to get around on land.

Larsen’s son-in-law, who also was on the boat, told investigators that he had warned his father-in-law to pay attention, that he sometimes sees his father-in-law using his cell phone while driving the boat and that his father-in-law had been off-and-on his cell phone the morning of the crash, according to the sheriff’s report.

Although Oregon law heavily restricts cell phone use while driving, there are no such specific laws governing boating. But it is against the law to operate a boat without due care.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, claims Larsen was boating while distracted by his cell phone on the morning of the Aug. 12, 2017, when the crash occurred near the mouth of the Columbia at the Pacific Ocean, just east of Fort Stevens State Park.

The suit was filed by Bryan Maess, 47, an off-duty Hermiston police officer fishing with a law-enforcement co-worker, Christopher McMahon, 46. Another friend, Roni Durham, 57, a Clatskanie resident, also was aboard.

A GoPro camera mounted to the Weldcraft fishing boat captured the frantic seconds as Larsen’s Bayliner Trophy motorboat speeds directly at them. McMahon can be seen waving his arms and yelling in an attempt to get Larsen to steer clear -- just before the trio jump into the water.

The video was shared with The Oregonian/OregonLive by the publication Salmon Trout Steelheader and Angling Oregon, the latter of which is an online fishing website of McMahon's. The video encourages boaters to wear life jackets. Maess and McMahon weren't wearing life jackets. Durham was, but it didn't inflate.

Sheriff’s investigators wrote that it was likely Maess and the others would have been seriously injured or killed if they hadn’t jumped into the water.

Maess suffered vision problems, headaches and injuries to his ankle, leg and arm from jumping into the water or being struck by debris, according to the suit. Five months after the crash, he wears a knee brace, the suit says.

McMahon and Durham also suffered injuries, including cuts or hypothermia. They haven’t filed suit against Larsen but have hired attorneys who say they plan to. Portland attorney Josh Lamborn said his client, Durham, also has suffered psychological trauma and, even though fishing is a big part of her life, hasn’t been able to go back out on a boat since the crash.

Larsen, a Roseburg resident, told The Oregonian/OregonLive by phone Friday that he wasn’t using his cellphone while driving his Bayliner and referred to such allegations as “fake news.” Larsen also said a lawsuit seemed unnecessary because the people in the Weldcraft weren’t hurt badly.

The criminal case is ongoing. Larsen has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor crimes of reckless operation of a boat, fourth-degree assault and recklessly endangering the lives of others.

The suit was filed in Clatsop County Circuit Court. Portland attorney James McCandlish is representing Maess.


Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone

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eddylives

That is brutal

The operator of that boat is 100% at fault.....said they were sitting and could not see over the dash


Have no fear of perfection.....you will never reach it

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arvey

If that doesn't fill your depends nothing will and I know somebody something like this did happen to.

 

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Trevor Zimak

I was at the tournament it happened at... And to my recollection he got screwed over by insurance too... >:|

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Buck 120

Did you notice the guy at the back didn't ever let go of his rod?  True fisherman!!!

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Not just a 3 month season but a 12 month obsession!!!

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