A salmon fisherman who abandoned ship by leaping into the frigid waters of the Columbia River last summer in Hammond, Oregon — an instant before another motorboat crashed into his — has filed a $372,500 lawsuit against the other driver.

Reckless boat driver Marlin Larsen (75) told investigators he couldn’t see where he was driving because he was sitting down and the dash of his boat was blocking his view. Larsen said he probably should have been standing, according to the sheriff’s report, which notes Larsen uses a motorized scooter to get around on land.

Marlin Larsen, reckless driver of speeding boat

Larsen was also supposedly distracted by his cell phone on the morning of the Aug. 12, 2017, when the crash occurred near the mouth of the Columbia at the Pacific Ocean, just east of Fort Stevens State Park.

The suit was filed by Bryan Maess, 47, an off-duty Hermiston police officer fishing with a law-enforcement co-worker, Christopher McMahon, 46. Another friend, Roni Durham, 57, a Clatskanie resident, also was aboard.

boat crash Columbia River

A GoPro camera mounted to the Weldcraft fishing boat captured the frantic seconds as Larsen’s Bayliner Trophy motorboat speeds directly at them. McMahon can be seen waving his arms and yelling in an attempt to get Larsen to steer clear — just before the trio jump into the water.

Sheriff’s investigators wrote that it was likely Maess and the others would have been seriously injured or killed if they hadn’t jumped into the water.

Maess suffered vision problems, headaches and injuries to his ankle, leg and arm from jumping into the water or being struck by debris, according to the suit. Five months after the crash, he wears a knee brace, the suit says.

boat crash Columbia River
boat crash Columbia River


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