An Oregon fisherman whose dramatic escape from an oncoming motorboat was caught on video is suing the driver of the other boat for $372,500. Bryan Maess alleges the other driver was distracted by cell phone use during the accident.
Maess filed the lawsuit this month. The Hermiston police officer and two friends were forced to jump into the Columbia River to avoid being crushed by the oncoming speeding boat in August 2017.
A GoPro video of the crash, posted on the magazine Salmon Trout Steelheader's Facebook page, has been viewed more than 250,000 times since Jan. 16.
According to The Oregonian, Clatsop County sheriff's deputies charged 75-year-old Marlin Lee Larsen with several crimes. He's pleaded not guilty to reckless operation of a boat, fourth-degree assault and recklessly endangering the lives of others.
Larsen's son-in-law, who was on the boat during the crash, told investigators Larsen uses his cell phone while driving the boat and had been off-and-on his cell before the crash, according to the sheriff's report.
Larsen claims he was sitting down and couldn't see over the motorboat's steering wheel but denied that he was on a cell phone, calling the reports "fake news." Larsen, who uses a motorized scooter to move around, told local reporters the lawsuit was unnecessary because none of the three boaters was hurt.