AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nearly three years after a boat crash on Lake Austin killed two people and injured three others, opening statements began Tuesday in Travis County civil court in a personal injury case.
Mary Elo — one of the three surviving passengers — is suing the estate of Shawn Hurwitz, a Houston man who crashed his boat, killing himself and another passenger.
Elo’s attorneys say Hurwitz should pay for the injuries Elo sustained, despite the fact he was killed in the crash.
The fatal crash happened on Oct. 11, 2015, near Emma Long Park when the boat hit a construction barge along Lake Austin at 40 mph. Toxicology results revealed Hurwitz, 50, who was operating the boat, had blood alcohol content of 0.27, more than three times the legal limit.
Elo was friends with Jennifer Walley, 34, a single mother who also died in the crash.
“You have to make sure that in the end, that the injured persons or people still see the justice that they deserve,” explained Alison Baimbridge, an attorney for the sole plaintiff in this case.
During opening statements Tuesday, a jury heard from both sides. Baimbridge says they made sure the jury understood how horrible the crash was and pointed the blame on Hurwitz.
“It really was the basis of several really bad choices on the part of Mr. Hurwitz,” said Baimbridge. “When you include alcohol in the mix with a motor vehicle, it becomes a weapon, so you want to make sure to prevent that.”
Elo’s attorneys say they believe the jury will decide in favor of their client, in the end.
“I’m confident that once they hear how horrible all of these things are and how much Ms. Elo’s life has had to change — how much she has been forced to change because of her injuries, just her daily life — that they will see the substantial award that is deserved in the case,” said Baimbridge.
KXAN reached out to attorneys for the defendant in the case, but they declined an interview. We’re told a settlement was reached about eight months ago with the family of Jennifer Walley.