The family of Lane Alden, the woman killed in a 2012 boating accident on the Delaware River, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the alleged owner of the boat and driver, who is awaiting trial on vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges.
Le High Valley Live reports:
The lawsuit filed by Erin Alden, the adult daughter of 57-year-old Lane Alden and administratrix of her estate, alleges Wayne George allowed Donald Jessamine (as seen pictured above) to drive George’s jet boat despite having been in the presence of Jessamine while he drank alcohol earlier in the day.
Jessamine, who is charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the accident, is also accused of “negligently, carelessly and/or recklessly” operating the vehicle at the time of the crash with a BAC above New Jersey’s 0.08 threshold for penalties.
The 10-page lawsuit was filed last week in New Jersey Superior Court in Belvidere and seeks an unspecified amount for compensatory and punitive damages as well as legal fees.
Heidi Weintraub, attorney for the estate of Lane Alden, did not return a message seeking comment. Jessamine’s attorney in the criminal proceedings, Michael Priarone, could not immediately be reached.
Listed phone numbers for George and Jessamine have each been disconnected.
According to court records, Jessamine launched the boat from the Harmony Station ramp in Harmony Township during the evening hours of June 23, 2012. He drove north, under the PPL railroad bridge that spans Harmony and Lower Mount Bethel townships, where he struck boulders in the river.
The impact ejected Alden, Jessamine and a third passenger, Jerry Robbins, into the water. The two men made it to shore but Alden couldn’t be found for days.
Her body turned up in Williams Township after five days of authorities searching the river in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The mother of two died of blunt force trauma.
Blood-alcohol tests, administered about four hours after the accident, revealed Jessamine had a BAC of 0.09. Experts have estimated his BAC at the time of the accident was about 0.15, records say.
In addition to being intoxicated, the lawsuit contends Jessamine was traveling too fast near the bridge, driving in excess of 30 miles per hour. It also charges he used a channel that witnesses have said should be avoided due to exposed rocks when water levels are low as they were at the time of the accident.
The civil suit comes as the criminal charges against Jessamine continue on track toward trial. Last week, a Superior Court judge dismissed a motion from his defense attorney and ruled statements he made to police in the hours that followed the accident and the blood alcohol test results can be used as evidence.
His next criminal court appearance, a pretrial conference, is scheduled Sept. 5 in Belvidere.
If you have any questions about an accident that happened to you or a loved one, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, PPLC. Our team of experienced lawyers are here to help you.
Contact us by e-mail or call one of our attorneys at 212-962-1020 (toll free at 877-MSL-4LAW or 877-675-4529) to schedule a free initial consultation.