Parents Of Boat Crash Victim Suing Driver And His Parents

Friday, January 31st 2014, 11:11 pm
By: News On 6

The parents of a college student killed in a boat crash on Grand Lake last May are suing the driver of the boat and his parents.

The driver is already charged with manslaughter for the deaths of his two passengers.

Rachel Swetnam's parents are seeking damages, claiming in the suit that John Deselms operated the boat under the influence of a prescription drug and alcohol.

12/18/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Man Charged In Grand Lake Boating Deaths Waives Hearing

News On 6 obtained a copy of the lawsuit; it claims Deselms of being negligent when he operated the ski boat, which slammed into the back of a docked boat.

Eight Months ago a boat, piloted by John Deselms, crashed into the back of a house boat docked at the Arrowhead Yacht Club.

A passenger jumped out into Grand Lake before the crash; Rachel Swetnam and Trey Varner didn't survive their injuries.

Attorneys for Swetnam indicate in a lawsuit filed last week, the boat reached speeds between 40 and 50 miles-per-hour before it hit the docked house boat.

The lawsuit filed in Delaware County District Court says Deselms used negligent behavior in operating the boat last spring.

The lawsuit claims Deselms, "breached his duty of care," and, "the injuries suffered were a reasonably foreseeable result of John's conduct."

The lawsuit points to the police investigation after the crash that Deselms admitted to drinking 10 beers, one shot of tequila, and took an anti-depressant that was not prescribed to him.

Documents show Deselms operated the boat under the influence of alcohol, two-times over the legal limit.

Attorneys for Rachel Swetnam's family claim, "Deselm's actions were in violation of GRDA regulations and rules that provide a standard of care for John's conduct."

Attorneys are also holding John's parents, John Stuart and Mary Kay Deselms, accountable for the fatal crash.

The lawsuit claims, as a direct result of the parent's failure to supervise their boat, their son's actions ultimately led to the death of Swetnam.

The suit also claims a company, operated by Deselm's parents, was dissolved months after the fatal boat crash.

Court documents indicate Seven Anchors, LLC was controlled by the Deselms and Seven Anchors owned the lake house and the ski boat that crashed last May.

Several claims ask for more than $10,000 dollars in damages.

When asked about the lawsuit, the Deselms had no comment.

A court hearing is scheduled in July for the manslaughter charges John Deselms faces.