A wrongful death case arising out of a tragic boating accident that occurred in 2008 on Lake Martin was settled recently by our firm. A young man, who was intoxicated, ran his runabout boat into a pontoon boat that was anchored and occupied by a group of people from the Prattville area. The group included Sue Gilmore Tatum, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when struck, leaving her in a coma. There were others on the pontoon boat and one of them, Donny Tatum, was killed instantly. Sue Tatum died from her injuries after being in a coma for several months. Lights on the pontoon boat were on at the time and were working properly. The drunk driver was totally at fault and his intoxication caused two deaths.
The Alabama Marine Police did an excellent job in investigating this tragic accident. Julia Beasley handled the case for our firm and reached a satisfactory settlement for our clients. The widow of Donny Tatum was represented by Ted & Leah Taylor from Birmingham and that case was also settled satisfactorily. This horrific accident is a prime example of why drinking and driving a boat simply don’t mix. There needs to be a revision in the state laws relating to this sort of thing. Many people don’t realize how dangerous it is to operate a boat while drinking. This driver paid a heavy fine and hopefully learned a painful lesson.