Maritime Expert Witness On Reconstruction of Collision

Both Robert LaPointe and Terry Raye Trott apparently violated boating safety rules prior to a fatal boat crash on Long Lake, Maine, last summer, witnesses for the state testified at LaPointe’s manslaughter trial Tuesday. Milford Daily News writes:

LaPointe, 39, of Medway, Mass., was going too fast at night and did not exercise care to avoid a collision when he came up on Trott’s boat from behind, said Maine Warden Kevin Anderson and boat reconstruction expert William Chilcott.

Trott was in violation because his rear “all-around” light was not working, and he may not have had a sounding device on his motorboat, they said.But both witnesses agreed that under federal navigation rules, LaPointe was at fault for the Aug. 11, 2007, crash. His obligation as the boat coming up from behind superseded the obligation Trott had to maintain proper lighting, they said.

“Mr. LaPointe was driving too fast at night,” said Anderson, who conducted a reconstruction of the collision using the salvaged boats. “He wasn’t able to avoid the collision. He ran over a boat.” Boaters on Maine’s lakes are required to obey the navigation rules maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, and any other state laws or local ordinances specific to each body of water.

Anderson said boaters must travel at speeds low enough to avoid a collision with another boat, a log, a loose dock, a swimmer or any other hazard that might present itself. Anderson estimated LaPointe was going between 40 and 50 mph at the time of the crash, and Trott was going between 10 and 20 mph.