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Generally, people are aware that driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited, and most Oklahoma residents who occasionally drink try to avoid drunk driving. However, operators of boats sometimes don’t hold themselves to the same standard of safety as they would if they were driving a car.

A wrongful death lawsuit was recently brought against a boat operator whose blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.18 percent. Authorities say that speeding and operator inattention were also factors in a collision that took the life of a 21-year-old woman who formerly won a Miss Teen Oklahoma pageant.

In May 2013, the young woman was a passenger in a boat on Grand Lake. The driver of the boat was reportedly seen speeding and driving erratically on the water in the hour before the accident. The wrongful death claim brought by the woman’s family says the boat operator had also been drinking over the course of the day.

At some point, the boat collided with an unoccupied houseboat, and the young woman and another 21-year-old passenger lost their lives.

The woman’s family is suing the boat operator, his parents and a company owned by the family. The boat driven by the allegedly intoxicated operator was registered to the company.

Criminal charges have already been brought against the boat driver, though a criminal conviction is not necessary for a family to achieve a favorable outcome in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Our wrongful death website has more information about proving liability after a fatal accident involving any kind of vehicle.

Source: Grand Lake News, “Family files wrongful death lawsuit in connection to fatal boating accident,” Sheila Stogsdill, Jan. 31, 2014