The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office is considering filing charges against two boaters who caused a boating accident on the Colorado River, which seriously injured 45-year-old Stefani Rhoades. According to a news report in the San Bernardino Sun, the accident occurred when Russell Beck, 45, was operating his 2000 Ultra jet boat west on the river with three passengers. At the time Kirk Tahmizian was speeding in the area in a 27-foot Calibre power boat and ended up colliding with Beck’s watercraft. Rhoades was taken to the hospital with serious back injuries. Beck was arrested on suspicion of felony boating under the influence with injuries. Officials are considering filing charges against Tahmizian for causing the collision.
I sympathize with Stefani Rhoades, the victim who was seriously injured in this crash. I’m pleased to hear that she has been released from the hospital. I wish Rhoades the very best for a speedy and complete recovery from her injuries. She will be in my prayers.
California Boating Accident Statistics
According to the most recent report by the Department of Boating and Waterways, there were 55 boating accident fatalities in California waters in 2007, half of those in Southern California. Twenty California victims were found to be under the influence of alcohol. Also, nearly half of the alcohol-related fatalities in the water in 2007 were boat passengers. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2007 boating statistics, the number of boating-related deaths fell from 710 in 2006 to 685 in 2007. But the number of boating accidents increased from 4,967 to 5,191. Boating related injuries rose from 3,474 to 3,673 and damages increased from $43 million to $53 million during that period.
In California, boating under the influence, or BUI/BWI, falls under the Harbors and Navigation Code, which defines being under the influence as having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent for a recreational vessel and 0.04 percent for a commercial craft. The statute sets a zero tolerance for water craft such as aquaplanes and water skis, meaning that the user cannot ingest any alcohol at all.
Boating Accident Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that Tahmizian was operating his watercraft at a high rate of speed and recklessly. If he is determined to have caused this accident, he could be held liable for the injuries caused to Rhoades. Beck could also be held liable because he was operating the boat under the influence. Rhoades would be well-advised to consult with an experienced California personal injury lawyer who will advise her about her legal rights and options. In such cases, accident victims could seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization and other related damages.
The BISNAR|CHASE personal injury law firm is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.