Two years after a horrible boat crash on Clear Lake, the criminal case is finally headed to court. We’ll be there for the preliminary hearing tomorrow at Lake County Superior Court. You may recall our past stories about the crash in which a power boat driven by the number two man in the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Russell Perdock, slammed into a sailboat, killing a woman from Willows. Prosecutors did not charge Perdock in the death, even though he admitted driving his boat 40 mph on a dark, moonless night. They charged the man who happened to be steering the sailboat at the time, Bismarck Dinius. Prosecutors say he was boating under the influence and that the sailboat’s lights were off at the time of the crash.
I’m attaching two reports from defense experts, both of whom concluded the sailboat’s lights were on at the time of the crash. They decided that after studying the filaments from the bulbs on the stern and bow lights. If the light is on, the filaments are hot and will stretch -- that's what the experts found on the sailboat's lights. If the light is off, the filaments are cold and will snap cleanly. Further, the defense experts say the proximate cause of the crash that night was the speed of the powerboat. Why didn’t the prosecution charge Chief Deputy Russell Perdock? William Chilcott, one of the defense experts, told us today, “I suspect they had a Sheriff’s officer to protect.”
Lake County Deputy District Attorney John Langan confirmed he has received the reports from the defense experts, but won’t comment on them. We’ll have more from Lakeport tomorrow at 6pm and here on the I-Team blog.