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Lawsuit claims boat driver in Long Lake crash was intoxicated

A woman who suffered a broken spine in a June boat collision on Long Lake accuses the driver of the other craft of being drunk.

Lindsay M. Mullan’s lawsuit, filed in Spokane County Superior Court, alleges Marvin L. Olson III drank several mixed drinks with rum on June 28 at Suncrest Park before he left to go back to his campsite at Willow Bay Resort about 11:30 p.m.

It was after he left Suncrest Park that Olson’s boat crashed into an anchored boat with its navigation and cabin lights on. Mullen was thrown around the cabin because of the crash. According to the lawsuit, she sustained “severe and permanent” injuries, including a broken spine, several broken fingers, cuts and cognitive impairment.

According to court documents, Olson told deputies the boat was going fast enough to be “on plane” and he had the throttle at one quarter. Speed tests conducted by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office concluded the boat had to be traveling 19 mph to be on plane and it went an average of 28 mph at one-quarter throttle. The speed limit on Long Lake at night is 15 mph. A witness to the crash estimated the boat’s speed at 35 mph.

The Sheriff’s Office was not notified of the crash until the morning after it happened. The report filed by one of the responding deputies said Olson’s girlfriend told the deputy Olson had been drinking before the crash.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory said the girlfriend’s statement wasn’t enough to warrant a driving under the influence charge so long after the accident. Deputies would need to have a failed field sobriety test, a blood test or a breath test to prove intoxication at the time of the crash, he said.

Deputies arrested Olson for causing the crash; however, he has been released from jail and no charges were filed. County Prosecutor Larry Haskell said he had no proof that Olson had been drinking and that speeding didn’t fit the definition of reckless behavior in the assault-by-watercraft statute.

Olson did not return a message seeking comment.

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