Last weekend, two fatal boating accidents took place on Lake Dora during the Tavares community’s annual Spring Thunder Regatta. On Saturday, 53-year-old Mark Van Winkle of Stuart was killed when he was thrown from his vessel and struck in the water by another boat. On Sunday, 64-year-old Charles Woodruff of Jensen Beach and 73-year-old Dea Wiseley of Sun City Center died after they were involved in a high-speed crash. Woodruff was a former raceboat champion and Wiseley was also well known in the raceboat show circuit.
The deaths were the first in the regatta’s six-year history. The annual event, sponsored by the Classic Race Boat Association, marks the Tavares community’s annual kick-off to the boating season and showcases vintage racing boats traveling at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Drivers are not on the water to race their boats, however. Each year, the regatta generally draws about 10,000 spectators.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Woodruff’s boat ran over Wiseley’s boat on Sunday and both men were killed after being thrown into the water. On Saturday, an occupant riding in Van Winkle’s boat was also ejected but she was safely rescued. The cause of both fatal accidents is still under investigation. Despite the perfect weather on Sunday, the weekend boating tragedies reportedly cast a pall over the community.
Each year, many deaths in Florida are the result of a tragic and unnecessary accident. Losing a loved one unexpectedly can be devastating, but it can be particularly distressing when your loss is the result of another person’s negligence. If you lost a family member due to someone else’s negligent actions, you have may the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, a deadly accident which results from an act of negligence, recklessness, or carelessness will give rise to a wrongful death claim. In Florida, family members of someone killed in an accident normally have up to two years to sue for wrongful death. Clearly, no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of your loved one, but filing a wrongful death claim may allow you to hold the liable party accountable for their actions. If you have lost a family member due to someone else’s actions, it is a good idea to contact a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
At Lazarus & Lazarus, P.A., our Weston wrongful death lawyers understand the anguish that accompanies the death of a loved one. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are available to answer your questions and assist you with obtaining fair compensation to help relieve part of your financial burden. The law firm of Lazarus & Lazarus represents clients throughout the State of Florida including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Weston, Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Broward County. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case, call Lazarus & Lazarus today at (954) 356-0006 or contact the firm through our website.
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3 fatalities shock crowd at weekend regatta in Lake, by Jerry Fallstrom and Richard Burnett, Orlando Sentinel