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Zachary James Conn-Springer

Wrongful Death of Teenage Boy in Jet Ski Collision

The claim arose when Zac Springer was invited to accompany a friend and his father on vacation to Lake Powell, Utah. The friend's father and his adult friends had rented two houseboats, a ski boat, and two jet skis, signing a rental agreement that explicitly prohibited use of the jet skis by anyone under 18. Utah law requires that minors use jet skis only after being trained and certified, and then only under close adult supervision. Instead of supervising Zac and his friend, the father partied while letting the 15-year-old boys ride the jet skis, contrary to the rental contract, the laws of Utah, and common sense. The friend accidentally ran into Zac, lacerating his liver, and resulting in his death.

Liability arose from the father's failure to supervise his son and Zac. Utah recognizes the duty to protect third parties outlined in Restatement of Torts (2nd), §315-320. The special relationship giving foundation to the duty to protect Zac arose not only from the father's failure to supervise his own son, who drove his jet ski into Zac, but also from the father's failure to supervise Zac's use of the jet ski after his parents allowed the father to act in loco parentis, promising to take responsibility for Zac's safety during the vacation.

The Jet Ski rental agreement lists 19 warnings--beginning with warning number 1:

1.     MINIMUM OPERATOR AGE-18. Under the Utah State Boating Act Sections 73-18-15.2 Minimum age of operators - Boating safety course for youth to operate personal watercraft:

       (2)      A person who is at least 12 years of age or older but under 16 years of age may operate a personal watercraft provided he:

            (a)      Is under the direct supervision of a person who is at least 18 years of age;

            (b)      Completes a boating safety course approved by the division; and,

            (c)      Has in his possession a boating safety certificate issued by the boating safety course provider.

...

5.      A person may not give permission to another person to operate a vessel in violation of this section.

6.      As used in this section, "direct supervision" means oversight at a distance within which visual contact is maintained

The father violated the rental agreement, Utah state law, and his promise to Zac's parents that he would supervise Zac during the vacation. Punitive damages were requested under Utah Code Title 78 Chapter 18-1 for "...conduct that manifests a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, the rights of others.: Behrens v. Raleigh Hills Hospital, Inc.,675 P.2d 1179 (Utah, 1983). A larger punitive damage award for a breach of trust becomes more appropriate the greater the trust placed in the defendant. Diversified Holdings, L.C. v. Turner, 63 P.3d 686, 463 Utah Adv. Rep. 66 (2002). There are few breaches of trust that can be imagined greater than leaving your child in another parent's care who then illegally sends him out to play on a jet ski.

An investigation determined that the rental agent who gave the Jet Ski instruction noticed that "...they wasn't (sic) interested so much in my instruction. I felt they just wanted to leave quick..." Although the rental party "...indicated to me they were experienced boaters...," at the time the houseboats were turned over, people were already "drinking and partying..." In fact, the members of the rental party were not experienced boaters.

Several witnesses at the scene verified that the father knew that no one under 18 was allowed to use the jet skis and that the two boys had not attended the boating safety course required by Utah law or obtained the required boating safety certificate.

The father rented the jet skis and then gave the minor boys permission to operate them in violation of the statute. He then failed to provide the required "direct supervision." The jet skis were Kawasaki STX 22-Fs, 10 feet long, 4 feet wide, weighing 717 pounds, with a 1200cc 4 stroke engine developing 125 horse power.

The tragedy occurred on the afternoon of the first full day of the vacation. The two boys took the jet skis out around 5:00p.m. This vacation was Zac's first use of a jet ski ever, and he was operating with absolutely no adult supervision, over a mile from the anchored houseboats. The boys were operating their jet skis at about 25 m.p.h. when Zac's friend t-boned his jet ski, which apparently stopped in the water. Since Zac was the forward water craft, it was the "stand on vessel" with right-of-way. Zac was hit and knocked off the jet ski. His friend jumped into the water to hold the unconscious Zac afloat. They were in the water together for nearly 30 minutes before help arrived.

According to investigators, it took 20 minutes for the "adult supervisors" to get a ski boat launched to rescue the boys, and another 20 minutes of CPR before they could figure out how to work the marine radio because no one knew how to operate a marine radio, because there was something wrong with this particular marine radio, or because the operators were too intoxicated to figure it out.

In sum, the adults' failure to supervise the young boys on the powerful machines led to Zac's death.

The claim was brought under Utah's wrongful death statute, Title 78 Chapter 11-6. Recoverable damages included funeral and medical expenses, the value of services the decedent might have rendered to the household, the amount of money the deceased child might have earned, if his projected income would have exceeded the cost of his maintenance and care, and the loss of society, companionship, protection and affection, which constitutes the heart of the action. Jones v. Carvell, 641 P.2d 105 (Utah, 1982). The Utah Constitution, Article 16, Section 5, provides that the amount recoverable for a wrongful death claim can never be limited, so there is no limitation on a jury determination of value.

The recovery came from the entire policy limits of the friend's father's homeowners' policy, a source of recovery found when Zac's mother sought a second opinion at Brett & Coats.

 



Zac was a shy youngster. At first he was labeled as anti-social in elementary school, Oh, how little did they know that he was just holding it all in for the right time. And the right time did come; it just took a little while.
   
Zac was on Spring Break with his best friend, no-one under 18 was to ride the jet skis, not only were they allowed to ride (Zac's first and last time) they were unsupervised. No-one but his best friend will ever know just how long they were out in the water after the accident, his best friend holding him, waiting for someone to come an help. Zac was T-Boned and died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

Due to Zac's death, I have become aware of the concerns and need for boating safety and education. Many states already have laws in place that everyone needs to be aware of. For instance in Nevada if you were born after Jan 1, 1983 did you know, it is a law you are to be certified before operating a boat or watercraft.


To learn more please visit the sites below;

Nevada Department of Wildlife
http://www.ndow.org

Official Boating Safety Courses and Online Testing
http://www.boat-ed.com 

The National Boating Law and Safety Guide
http://www.usboatlaw.com  


Someday...

By: Linda Drewes

I sit and hold your picture, As you looked so long ago.

I wonder, how would you look

Were you here with me today.

A higher power had you in their plans that day, You were lifted from my arms.

But still, as days go passing by, My eyes keep searching, everywhere.

My heart is still broken, As it ws that other day

Though the years have passed and gone, I'll love you, each and every day.

If I was given one wish, I wouldn't think, not for a second.

I'd askto see your face, my son, For just a single, fleeting minute.

You're locked up deep within my soul, and etched into my heart.

When the time is right, my son, I'll once more fold you into my arms.........

Someday.......



What Zachary Would Say

I know you have so much sorrow, But remember there is always tomorrow
That’s What Zachary Would Say
Though I am gone, My spirit will always go on
That’s What Zachary Would Say
When you are feeling blue, Remember I will always love you
That’s What Zachary Would Say
I know you are sad, But think of all the fun we had
That’s What Zachary Would Say
I will meet you when you dream, We are still an awesome team
That’s What Zachary Would Say
Now I can watch over you all, Through the good and the bad times, I will help you stand up tall
That’s What Zachary Would Say
Please remember this is not good-bye, I am just waiting for the day that together we will fly
That’s What Zachary Would Say
One last thing I can not miss, Plane and simple so here it is…..
Please remember to wash your hands, This is where the nasty germs always lands
That’s What Zachary Would Say
So hold on to my laughter, my smile, my eyes and my love, I will always be with you, just now it’s from up above
That’s What Zachary Would Say

Written With Love Always and Forever
By: Teresa “Aunt Ree Ree”




Songs for Zac

 Leave Out All The Rest ~ Linkin Park

I dreamed I was missing
You were so scared
But no one would listen
Cause no one else cared

After my dreaming
I woke with this fear
What am I leaving
When I'm done here

So if you're asking me
I want you to know

[Chorus]
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed

And don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest
[End Chorus]

Don't be afraid
I've taken my beating
I've shared what I made

I'm strong on the surface
Not all the way through
I've never been perfect
But neither have you

So if you're asking me
I want you to know

[Chorus]
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed

Don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest
[End Chorus]

Forgetting
All the hurt inside
You've learned to hide so well

Pretending
Someone else can come and save me from myself
I can't be who you are

[Chorus]
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed

Don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Forgetting
All the hurt inside
You've learned to hide so well

Pretending
Someone else can come and save me from myself
I can't be who you are
I can't be who you are




Remember Me This Way ~ Jordan Hill

Every now and then
We find a special friend
who never lets us down...

Who understands it all
reaches out each time we fall
you're the best friend i have found...

I know you can't stay
a part of you will never ever go away
your heart will stay.....

I'll make a wish for you,
and hope it will come true,
if life will just be kind,
to such a gentle mind,
if you lose your way,
think back on yesturday
remember me this way,
remember me this way.

I don't need eyes to see
the love you bring to me,
no matter where I go
and I know that you'll be there
forever-more a part of me and everywhere
I'll always care.....

I'll make a wish for you
and hope it will come true,
if life will just be kind,
to such a gentle mind,
and if you lose your way
think back on yesturday
remember me this way,
remember me this way.

and I'll be right behind your shoulder,watching you
I'll be standing by your side, all you do
and I won't ever leave
as long as you believe,
you just believe....

I'll make a wish for you
and hope it will come true
if life will just be kind
to such a gentle mind
and if you lose your way
think back on yesturday
remember me this way
remember me this way.
o.....
this way.






Wish You Were Here

There's a hush upon the world...an overpowering silence that cannot be broken. For I will never see your face again or hear your laughter fill the room dancing eyes no more to cast their light upon the darkest day. I wish you were here...how I wish you were here. There's an empty place no one can ever fill. And from the depths of darkest night only your light could ever lead me home again. Only your special grace could fulfill the promise of the day. I wish you were here...how I wish you were here. I turn amid the bustle of the day, expecting to see you there. A fleeting movement, a glimpse of something familiar, and my senses are flooded with you. Shadows flicker in my memory and slowly disappear. I wish you were here...how I wish you were here.
~ Unknown Author ~

Shared with us from Mack, Zac's Angel Buddy, Memory-Of page and Angel Mom Shaye




Click here to see Zachary Springer's
Family Tree
Tributes and Condolences
R.I.P Zac   / Brian Williams (confidante)
I miss u askin me bout life from a grown man perspective so that u know tha right steps 2 take in your life 2 achieve your goals.
i miss   / Sammy
I miss you but I forget you. Not entirely of course, there are just moments when you slip away and I lose you. Zac I love you. You are my friend and I miss you. Please believe me Im glad you have such a great best friend and I hope he knows...  Continue >>
It has been a while.   / Garrett Sanford (A simple relation )
Zac was always a bit more outgoing than me. He certainly liked challenges, and always laughed at danger. In fact, he laughed at mostly anything. I remember how we used to constantly fight over Sammy, and how he won out by asking her out first. I, bei...  Continue >>
Hey Zac,   / Julie Stearns (Gramma's Friend )
Hi Zack,  It seems so long since I have stopped for a chat.  I hope you are spending lotsa  time with mom and gramma,  They both love you so very much.  There will never be enough words  to tell you kids how much yo...  Continue >>
Happy Mother's day Mom!   / ~Your Beautiful Baby Boy Zac Now An Angel In Heaven (I love You Mom! )
Happy Mother's Day Mom!  Remember when we stopped to smwell the fwlowers?? I'm saving ALL the prettiest ones for you in my new garden. Love Zac
Rest In Peace  / Katie O'Donohue (Friend)    Read >>
Condolence / Cindy Boyer (none)    Read >>
Christmas time  / Holly Gma's Friend     Read >>
Zacy / Angel Barnett (Best friend in Middle School )    Read >>
My heart is with your family,my son is with you  / Lee Nossen (my son Tyler is with you )    Read >>
I miss you, still. Of course.  / Garrett Sanford (Friend)    Read >>
Try again  / Gramma Nora (maternal grandmother )    Read >>
In our hearts, forever  / Gramma     Read >>
Hi, Baby.  / Gramma Nora Lovin' You     Read >>
Just thinkin'  / Gramma Nora (April 26,2007 )    Read >>
More tributes and condolences...
Click here to pay tribute or offer your condolences
 
Zachary's Photo Album
Zac's Freshman Picture
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