You may not have heard of this California news story. I’ll provide a couple of external links so I don’t have to re-hash too much. Read about it from an ABC affiliate and boatus.com. Also a very good article by Latitude 38.
The gist of the story is this: Bismarck Dinius and some friends were out on a sailboat at night. A power boat, driven by Chief Deputy Sheriff Russell Perdock, slams into the sailboat, killing passenger Lynn Thornton.
Now consider the following facts:
- Mr. Dinius was given a blood alcohol test on the scene and was proven to be slightly intoxicated, while Mr. Perdock was given a blood test later at a hospital.
- Perdock says Dinius’ running lights were off. This is disputed by eyewitnesses.
- No one disputes that the sailboat cabin lights were on, which makes this type of boat clearly visible at night.
- No one disputes that Mr. Perdock was operating the boat at an excessive speed.
- An expert witness testified that the blame of the accident lay solely at Russell Perdock’s feet, due to excessive speed.
- Several witness statements weren’t taken because investigators said they didn’t need any additional testimony.
- An independent investigator held that blame should be shared by both Mr. Dinius and Mr. Perdock for failing to use running lights and operate at safe speeds, respectively.
- A civil case decided by the insurance companies for the parties involved awarded most of the pooled insurance money to Thornton’s son, with small sums going to the sailboat owner and Dinius. None went to Perdock.
- Lynn Thornton’s family filed a wrongful death suit that named both vessel operators.
With the facts listed above, this case is a double travesty. Not only is Bismarck Dinius being unfairly charged with manslaughter, but Russell Perdock is being let off the hook. It smells of a good-old-boy network, and Mr. Dinius has become a scapegoat for the blame in this case. Neither the absence of running lights nor intoxication by Mr. Dinius contributed to the cause of this accident, nor could either of these things been changed to avoid the accident.
Mr. Perdock was the cause of this accident any way you look at it, yet he has not been charged.
Can you imagine driving down the street and being plowed into by a speeding driver, only to be charged with manslaughter because one of his passengers died?
This case is completely outrageous and appalling.
This is an attack of the very fabric of our society, not from terrorism or civil unrest. It comes from within the system itself. An innocent man is being railroaded in place of a guilty officer.It is just wrong on many levels.
District Attorney Jon Hopkins, Deputy District Attorney John Langan, and Judge Richard Martin are an embarrassment to the United States legal system. They are an insult to one of the hallmarks of American society, and the very thing they are bound to preserve: Justice.
Latitude 38 has established a defense fund for Bismark Dinius: You can assist his legal defense by sending a check made out to Bismarck Dinius, writing “Bismarck Dinius Defense Fund” in the memo section, and mailing it to Sierra Central Credit Union, Attn: Brian Foxworthy, Branch Manager, 306 N. Sunrise Ave., Roseville, CA 95661.
Filed under: Current Events