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Family files wrongful death lawsuit after CDA boating accident

SPOKANE, Wash. - Unsafe boating has caused multiple deaths in the Inland Northwest in recent years. Right now there are three different lawsuits underway involving accidents on local waterways where the skippers are accused of negligent or unsafe boating.

And today, the family of one of three people killed during a Lake Coeur d'Alene accident last Summer has launched a wrongful death lawsuit.

The claim, filed in Spokane Superior Court, accuses advertising executive Dennis Magner of causing the fatal collision and then lying about the crash to investigators.

Magner may owe a small fortune in general and punitive damages because he apparently wasn't paying attention while driving his boat across the lake last August.

Lieutenant Stu Miller, with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office,  said while investigating the crash, “what we're looking at is that it was a head-on collision. The bows of both boats came into contact with each other.”

The lawsuit against Magner alleges his Mastercraft was up on plane when it plowed into a boat that was drifting off of Arrow Point.
 
Justin Lurh and two of his friends were thrown into the water by the impact and drowned.

Bill Gilbert, the plaintiff's attorney, explained that they didn't see the accident coming.

“They weren't out there paying attention, worried they might run into somebody. Again, it was after dark. They probably didn't think anybody was on the water. But you still have to pay attention, especially after dark,” he said.

Justin Luhr left behind his wife and two daughters, and the lawsuit intends to make sure they are compensated for their loss.

The suit claims Magner failed to yield to a stationary boat as the law requires, and then according to detectives, he lied about who was driving the Mastercraft at the time of the crash.

The suit claims Magner failed to yield to a stationary boat as the law requires, and then according to detectives, he lied about who was driving the Mastercraft at the time of the crash.

And that may hurt Magner's credibility if he ever has to testify before in jury in this case.

“The real tragedy is the children. We've got two little girls who are going to grow up without their dad and I think that's a pretty big deal,” said Gilbert. “Not only did you make a mistake and were negligent and did some things you shouldn't have done, but then, you weren't accountable for it. You didn't take responsibility.”

Boats don't have brakes, and most don't have seat belts or airbags. Driving around a 6,000 lb floating bullet is a tremendous responsibility. If there's ever a time you might want to have that life jacket on, it's when you're on the water at night.

 


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