Prosecutors in Utah are likely to file charges against three men in the death of a scientist who was killed in a boating accident in August. The men are likely to be charged with several misdemeanor counts, including those related to obstruction of justice and failure to render aid.
The accident occurred on August 21, when University of Utah Scientist Esther Fujimoto was out swimming in the Pineview Reservoir. She died when the propeller of a boat struck her, ripping out her lower torso and abdomen. The accident and death stunned the University of Utah community, where Sugimoto was a much-respected scientist. She was a survivor of breast cancer, who had worked as part of the team at the University that had discovered the breast cancer gene. At the time of the accident, she was conducting research into cerebral palsy and nervous system development.
The three men on the boat will likely be charged with misdemeanors, including obstruction of justice. Two of the men also face possible misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and failure to render aid. The charges carry a maximum punishment of one year in jail.
The victim’s family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three men. According to the lawsuit, the men had been drinking and smoking marijuana in their boat at the time of the accident. Attorneys for the two men have tried to blame the victim for her fatal injuries, saying that the accident was caused by the victim’s own negligence.
The maritime law lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent persons injured or families of persons killed in boating accidents nationwide.