Panel votes to make boat hit-and-run a felony
Crime • The legislation was spurred by fatal accident on Pineview Reservoir.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

After witnesses said boaters at Pineview Reservoir left a swimmer to bleed to death after they struck her last summer, lawmakers advanced a bill Friday to make leaving the scene of a boating accident clearly illegal.

The House Transportation Committee voted unanimously Friday to pass HB92 and send it to the full House. It requires people who have "reason to believe" they have been in a boating accident to remain at the scene. It makes it a felony to flee the scene when someone is killed, and a misdemeanor in other cases.

Its sponsor, Rep. Richard Greenwood, R-Roy, said it comes in response to an Aug. 21 incident where Esther Fujimoto, 49, a University of Utah researcher, died after being struck by a boat on Pineview Reservoir.

A witness told deputies that men in the boat yelled at the woman to see if she was all right — but then fled without offering aid. Her screams were heard by another passer-by, who rowed to her. As he called 911, he was unable to pull her into the boat, but held her head above the water.

Rescuers arrived and performed CPR, but Fujimoto — who suffered lacerations to her torso from the motorboat's propeller — died before she reached shore.