JAY - A criminal jury trial slated to begin today to decide the fate of two men accused in the Grand Lake boating crash that resulted in the death of a 35-year-old Georgia man has been postponed.
In a separate matter, a federal judge in Tulsa granted a stay of certain depositions in the civil lawsuit Murray McGarvey's family filed last October against the boat operators as well as two lake nightclubs that served alcohol to the boat operators the night of the accident.
John F. Special, 44, of Stillwater, is slated to return Aug. 3 for an appearance in the Delaware County case where he has been charged with one count each of negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident or collision, court records indicate.
The operator of a second boat involved in the July 30, 2006 accident, Jason L. Bandy, 36, of Tulsa, has also been charged with negligent homicide in connection with McGarvey's death.
McGarvey, a passenger in the boat Bandy was driving, fell out of the boat and was mangled by a propeller, a Grand River Dam Authority lake patrol report indicates.
Special left the scene about 3 a.m., went to his lake house where he slept and returned to Stillwater the following day via a private aircraft, according to his girlfriend's account of events on file with lake patrol.
But Special reportedly told investigators he left the scene to seek medical treatment after he could find nobody around.
Occupants of Bandy's boat indicated they remained in the area searching for McGarvey's body for some time and were on the scene near the Drowning Creek arm of Grand Lake when lake patrol arrived.
Special and his former business partner, GRDA board member David Chernicky, exchanged emails where the scene was depicted and the incident described in detail. Attorneys for the McGarvey family have requested copies of those during the discovery process.
The McGarvey attorney wrote the federal judge expressing his concern that as a normal course of business, the emails might be deleted or the computers disposed of before that evidence is secured, court minutes indicate.
Cherokee Yacht Club, Inc., the lake establishment where Special was drinking until the lights went out and the bar closed, has been named in its lawsuit. CYC owner Terry Frost, also a GRDA board member, has been named as a witness scheduled to testify regarding the events leading up to Special‘s departure.
Special attended a private party as well as at the Yacht Club, and a string of witnesses are slated to attest the amount of alcohol consumed was such that he could have been impaired.
A similar scenario of alleged excess drinking occurred by Bandy, according to the civil lawsuit in which the McGarvey family is seeking in excess of $75,000 for actual and punitive damages.
The bar where Bandy was reportedly drinking that evening, has also been named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Witnesses in Big Shots Rhythm and Booze LLC are expected to testify that Bandy had also been drinking heavily on the night of the accident, the lawsuit indicates.
Last month, the federal judge has ruled that depositions for Bandy won't be heard in the civil case, will not be heard until Aug. 9, when the criminal case is expected to be resolved in Delaware County.
Special's deposition, on the other hand was expected, according to the judge, after the trial slated this week in Delaware County, but later postponed.
However, the attorneys can still exchange evidence in the matter, according to a ruling signed by Sam A. Joyner, United States magistrate judge.