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Boat Crash Leads to Two Lawsuits

Dennis Magner, driver of the boat involved in the July 30, 2016 crash on Lake Coeur d’Alene that killed three, now faces two lawsuits filed by the families of the victims. The crash took the lives of Justin Honken, 21, Caitlin Breeze, 21, and Justin Luhr, 34.

Magner is accused of driving his 2011 Mastercraft boat while intoxicated and crashing into the stationary boat occupied by the victims, whose bodies were later recovered in the lake. There were four other people aboard the Mastercraft at the time, all of whom suffered minor injuries.

According to the Sheriff’s report, the victims’ boat was floating unpowered at the time of the crash in the northern end of the lake between Three Mile Point and Stevens Point. It was sliced in half and sunk when the Mastercraft hit it. No criminal charges were filed after an investigation by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

The lawsuit stated Magner was driving the boat and “traveling too fast for conditions, distracted and impaired by alcohol and/or illicit drugs.” The second of two lawsuits, filed by Honken’s family, claims he was ejected from his boat and died from trauma or a combination of trauma and drowning. The lawsuit calls Magner’s actions (or lack of action) negligent and reckless, and seeks more than $10,000 in damages.

Originally, the passengers on the Mastercraft claimed Magner was not driving, but three of the occupants recanted their account of the events several days after the crash and admitted Magner had been the driver.

Boating Accident Victims Entitled to Compensation

Boating season is in full swing and with it comes the risk that people will take to the helm too intoxicated or too impaired to drive. Drivers of boats have the same safety obligations as those driving a car or truck on the road – to operate the vehicle safely and avoid driving after using drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, many boaters take risks on the water they might not consider when driving on the highway and it often ends in tragedy.

If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, you have a right to take legal action against the driver. These personal injury cases are handled in much the same way as those related to car or truck accidents.

To learn more or to discuss the details of a boating accident that left you injured or took the life of a loved one, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377 for a free consultation.

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