Wrongful death suit filed against boaters in fatal Pineview accident

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 9 2011 12:00 p.m. MST

Esther Fujimoto, was killed after being hit by a boat in Pineview Reservior, Aug. 21, 2011. Her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

, University of Utah

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OGDEN — The family of a University of Utah molecular biologist killed while swimming in Pineview Reservoir has filed a wrongful death suit against the three men in the boat who allegedly ran her over.

Esther Fujimoto, an avid swimmer, was hit and killed by a boat Aug. 21 while swimming 200 to 300 feet offshore.

The sister of Fujimoto, acting on behalf of the heirs and estate of Esther, recently filed a wrongful death suit in Weber County's 2nd District Court against 22-year-old Skyler Shepherd, 22-year-old Colton Raines and Robert Cole Boyer, 29, and up to five John Does.

The suit claims that Boyer was driving the boat when it hit Fujimoto. The propeller "tore into her torso and lower abdomen, causing critical injuries," according to court documents.

Boyer and Raines had smoked marijuana prior to the accident and all three had consumed alcohol, the suit contends.

The boat turned around after Fujimoto was hit and a witness heard the boaters yell, "Hey lady, are you all right?"

"The defendants talked to the decedent but did not offer her aid and left the scene, leaving the decedent in the water bleeding and severely injured," the lawsuit says.

The suit contends the three men failed their "duty" to use "reasonable care" to avoid an accident by "operating the power boat in a negligent and reckless manner," driving under the influence, failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to help Fujimoto after hitting her and failing to get help for her.

"Defendants' acts and omissions were the result of willful and malicious conduct or conduct that manifests a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, the rights of others," the lawsuit states.

The family is asking for a jury trial to determine damages.

As of Wednesday, no criminal charges had been filed against the three men. Investigators said last month they were still waiting for forensics tests from the Utah State Crime Lab before handing the case over to the Weber County Attorney's Office.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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