Closing Arguments Underway At $300M Trial Over Multi-Fatality “Duck Boat” Crash

Posted by David Siegel on Jan 25, 2019 2:30:37 PM

ducks closings

CVN screenshot of plaintiffs' attorney Karen Koehler delivering her closing argument. Click here to see video from the trial. 

Seattle, WA - A long-running trial in Washington State court stemming from a deadly collision between a tour bus and a semi-aquatic “duck boat” vehicle that left five people dead and nearly 60 injured wrapped up on Friday, with an attorney for the victims seeking roughly $300 million in damages.

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The plaintiffs sued Ride the Ducks Seattle, the City of Seattle and the State of Washington for their alleged responsibility in the 2015 collision. The accident occurred when a “Ride The Ducks” vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with the bus.

Duck boats are repurposed World War II-era vehicles that can drive on roads and also function as a boat.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Karen Koehler argued to jurors that the crash was caused by a broken axle on the duck boat that could have been prevented, and the lack of a median divider on the road.

Attorneys for the national and local Ride the Ducks defendants blamed each other for the crash during the trial, disputing the relevance of a 2013 service bulletin warning of potential wheel axle failures. Attorneys for the city and state blamed the crash on the duck boat’s axle failure.

Opening statements in the sprawling trial began on October 16 of last year, and the full proceedings have been webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.

Koehler used a popular song by Cher during her closing to frame the argument that the accident could have been prevented.

“If we could turn back time, if we could find a way, we’d take back the carelessness that changed all your days,” Koehler said, according to CVN’s webcast. “We don’t know why they ignored the things they did, we don’t know why they missed the things they could have fixed.”

Jurors begin their deliberations on Monday.

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Topics: Transportation