A West Bountiful family has reached an out-of-court settlement of their lawsuit against the state and Weber Basin Water Conservancy District stemming from the 1986 drowning of their son at Willard Bay.
The amount will not be made public, but other terms of the settlement require the district and state to make significant safety improvements at outlets and drains in reservoirs, said Bernice Murray, the victim's mother.Steven Murray, 18, was on a boating and water skiing holiday Aug. 2, 1986, when he stepped over a 24-inch siphon pipe linking the bay with a canal. The pipe, opened for flood control, sucked him in and he drowned. Rescue workers had to dismantle the pipe to recover his body. The drain had no grate over it.
Originally asking $1 million in damages, Steven and Bernice Murray sued the federal government, the state and the water district in federal court. But the federal government was dismissed from the case and the suit moved into state court.
The settlement was reached last month in Box Elder County's 1st District Court.
Bernice Murray said terms of the settlement, in which no liability was admitted, "show that if you fight, you can make a difference."
She said the water district and the Division of Parks and Recreation will be required to mark all such openings in all reservoirs it owns; map all outlet locations; and take pictures or make drawings and document the openings and make these available to the Murrays and the public.