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I Was There

Hey Dan, I was there with you today and I just wanted to let the people know that there were actually NINE eye witnesses to the accident who say there were no lights. So the judge felt that eye witness testimony was more reliable than two PAID expert witnesses who examined the bulbs all those months after the acccident.
I do find it odd that you appear to be part of the defense team. What happened to reporting the unbiased news?
Also, you might want to check your news headline on your website. It says "judge rules power boat driver should stand trial for manslaughter" That is not what the judge said. You need to get your story straight. Oh yeah, you don't really know how to do that. You have power that, I believe, you are handling in a very irresponsible manner.

*** NOTE FROM DAN: You clearly accept whatever the prosecution and judge say without question. We examined the prosecution's case in detail in past reports, and examined each of the people who claim the sailboat had no lights on. There are problems with their stories. Take a look at our report from August 23, 2007. ***

lynn

1. ANOTHER INJUSTICE....IT'S JUST A REPEAT OF THE LAST BOAT ACCIDENT ON THE LAKE.....CHARGE THE WRONG PERSON....AND LET THE ONE RESPONSIBLE, THE SPEEDER, THE ONE WHO FAILED TO WATCH HIS SURROUNDINGS AND KILLED LYNN THORNTON....AND PRIOR TO THAT IT WAS A YOUNG GIRL WHO WAS KILLED BY A SO CALLED SHERIFF WITH A PROMISING CAREER THAT NEVER WAS PROSECUTED.
THE SO STINKS LIKE ROTTEN-EGGS

I Was There

Mr. Noyes forgot to mention in any of his reports today, that there were 9, yes, I said NINE, EYE witnesses to the collision who say there were no lights on, on the sailboat. Sooo, even though the sailboat was left unsecured for a time, it has no affect on the 9 witnesses testimony. Poor Dinius was just steering a friends boat because his friend was too drunk to drive, oh, wait, Dinius was drunk too. In fact, his blood alcohol was .12%, two and one half hours after the crash. (And Mr. Noyes made no mention of the fact that Dinius had been previously convicted of an alcohol related incident, DUI). Perhaps there are some people who might see this story differently if given all of the facts. Not just the ones that lead you to believe Dinius was the victim.
Perdock couldn't give the sailboat the right of way if he couldn't see it.

lynn

And the reckless boat driver hadn't been drinking....Perhaps had he been tested on the spot we could say that...
but wasn't the blood test taken later and wasn't it then driven around and then finally it arrived to be processed to be sent out.
So from the time of the blood draw to the time the test results were produced......several hours had passed by.
Ethanol is a volatile substance and speciments should be stored in a tight stoppered container to avoid falsely decreased values.

A chain of custody protocol...every place that vial went.
Alcohol (ethanol) breaks down every hour.
A woman killed and they don't even protect the evidence.

You could be sitting in a bar and have a car come smashing through the window and kill the person sitting next to you and face charges like Bismarck is,imagine that. Smells like rotten eggs

Captain Carl

It doesn't matter whether witnesses remember seeing the lights on or not if the scientific evidence from the lamp filaments shows they were on at the time of the impact. Science doesn't lie and the lamp filaments bending had nothing to do with the experts being hired to report the facts. I do not see how anyone can seriously say that it is foreseeable that Clear Lake is going to have speedboats going 40-50 mph in the dark of night which are going to hit your sailboat (and therefore it is the fault of sailboat people for being hit). This is reminiscent of defense attorney tactics of blaming the the rape victim for getting raped.

Many believe that the public perception of small town insider favoritism in this case by not charging Perdock and blaming the victim by scapegoating Dinius is inconsistent with those ideals of Americcan Justice. Didn't we learn that our system was better than others because we ensured equal justice before the law, that no man is above the law, that we live under a rule of law not of men, and provide "liberty and justice for all"? Isn't this one of the main points that Americans are proud to say makes us different from the "bully boy" justice of the Nazis, Communist Russia, or bananna republic dictatorships, which control by intimidation and force rather than by democratic principles? Our founding fathers in their wisdom gave us the Constitutional rights including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to a jury trial as protections against this sort of thing. It remains to be seen whether these will make a difference in this case.

I Was There

I was there in the courtroom and the issue of the blood draw and the issue of the "driving around" were resolved. There are hospital and dispatch records showing Beland did take Perdock to the hospital where his blood was drawn into the tubes you speak of, processed and preserved properly, sealed by a California State Dept. of Justice anti tamper label. (And in case anyone missed it, Dinius and Weber's blood were all drawn at approximately the same times, just at different hospitals. So Dinius .12%, Weber .18% and Perdock .00% all approximately 2 1/2 hours after the collision. What might Dinius and Weber's BA's been if they were drawn immediately?) Beland then left and Perdock was picked up by his now EX wife. No discrepancy, just the defense trying to make Perdock look like a liar. The point the judge made was that if Dinius was an EXPERT sailor as he claims to be, saying he didn't know whether the lights were on or not, is not enough. He, as an expert sailor and the person in charge of the vessel, even if it were just for that moment, should have known. As far as scientific evidence, the California Dept. of Justice's forensic scientist examined the same bulbs and had a different finding. Two expert witnesses in regard to the lights, one PAID by the defense one not. Plus, the nine eye witnesses.

Captain Norm

Dan: The tag line to item 13 on today's webpage makes a very misleading statment. It claims Judge Says Powerboater to Stand Trial for Manslaughter. If only.... Please fix.

Susan

The prosecution's own lead investigating officer, Sgt. Ostini, testified that he concluded, based upon his investigation, the sail boat's CABIN lights were on.

The prosecution claims that 9 eye-witnesses saw NO lights on the sail boat. First, this assertion is not supported by the evidence. Second, if these alleged eye-witnesses saw the accident, why didn't they see the cabin lights. Answer: they either didn't see the accident, of they're lying.

Who are the prosecution's 9 supposed eye-witnesses? --- Two 12-year-old girls whose statements were not even written by them, but rather were written by a Lake Co. cop. Two fishermen, who have given statements in depositions, etc., that reveal they could not possibly have seen the accident. Three self-interested people on Perdock's boat (Perdock, Jim Walker (Perdock's high-shcool buddy), and Jim Walker's daughter). And two people who were at the Young Scandanavian Club who saw Perdock flying along the lake, and heard, but did not see the impact.

Thus, the prosecution's lighting evidence is riddled with problems. And, to repeat, the prosecution's lead investigating officer has testified to his conclusion that the SAIL BOAT's CABIN LIGHTS WERE ON --- squarely refuting Perdock's assertion to the contrary.

Even worse is the prosecution's handling of its investigation.

Sgt. Bleland claims he drove Perdock around for an hour with Perdock's blood after the blood was drawn at the hospital. Perdock claims he was not even with Bleland after leaving the hospital. Which Lake Co. cop is lying?

Beland offered to subject Perdock to a breath alcohol test at the scene of the accident, but was ordered not to. Why?

Sgt. Ostini left a material item of evidence --- the sail boat --- unattended for approx. 6 hours after the accident. Gee -- do you think that was a thorough investigative tactic?

Perdock's boat was towed from the scene of the accident by a non-cop friend of Perdock's. Aren't cops supposed to handle their own investigations?

If you don't think that the Lake County Sheriff's Dept. and the Lake County District Attorney's Office engaged in a bungled cover-up in this case, you're either one of them or one of their sycophants.

"I Was There" Is In Fantasy-Land

Right on Susan.

As I understand it, the Lake County Sheriff's Office tried to hire expert, Wes Dodd, to work for them in this case. He is not working for them. Instead, he is working for the defense.

Mr. Dodd is a former law enforcement officer. He testified at the preliminary hearing that he generally is hired in marine accident cases by the prosecution. He is currently working as an expert for prosecutors in other marine accident cases in California. He teaches marine accident investigation classes to police. He taught marine accident reconstruction classes to the only two marine accident investigators who are working for the Lake County Sheriff's Deparmtment in this case.

Mr. Dodd's report, which is posted on one of the earlier blogs related to this matter, goes through the relevant provisions of the California Boating Law, and comes to the obvious, and common-sense conclusion that Perdock's conduct alone was the cause of the tragic death in this case.

Then, there's Bill Chilcott, the lighting expert for the defense. His report and testimony at the preliminary hearing demonstrates that, based upon evaluation of the physical evidence, the stern light of the sail boat was on at the time of the collision. (The prosecution's supposed lighting expert has never been involved in a marine accident case. His report reveals that he knows nothing about the facts of this case. Moreover, he didn't even testify at the preliminary hearing.)

Did "I Was There" see this evidence during the preliminary hearing?

Did "I Was There" see the befuddled prosecution "expert" Charles Slabaugh acknowledge in his testimony that Wes Dodd is more qualified than him in investigating and coming to conclusions regarding marine accidents?

Did "I Was There" see Lake County cop Dennis Ostini testify that 5 - 10 miles per hour is the maximum speed at which one could safely operate a boat on the lake on the night in question? Is "I Was There" aware the Perdock was literally zooming at the time of the accident?

Lynn's Friend

Unbelievable! "I was there" is obviously a friend of Purdock and is only getting one side of the story. What about the 8+ witnesses that saw lights on the sailboat. Of course,they were not in the police report, only the witnesses that favored the Lake County Sheriff's outcome.

I have avoided reading these blogs as they are so distasteful and upsetting. Lynn Thornton was a beautiful person, in-side and out, and would NEVER have put blame on Dinius. Unfortunately, the justice that Lynn worked for in her own law enforcement career will not be had and an innocent man may suffer the result of a corrupt county.

Lynns' cousin

I miss my dear cousin Lynn everyday, and wonder what she would think of all this. Everyone is frantically trying to save their behinds while she never had a chance. Good luck to you all on your chance. Be happy you have one. Remember Lynn who didn't.

Perdock = The Bush Administration

"I Was There" is just like a cowardly suck-up to the Bush Administration. "I Was There" will stick by the crooks and liars in government, no matter what the facts are. Perdock and the Lake County Sheriff's Department are just like the actual crooks and liars in the Bush Administration. They won't admit mistakes, and they won't admit when they're at fault. Instead, they lash out irrationally at others.

Jeff Chen

Dear Mr. Noyes, might it be time to seek for national exposure of the case?

At first I thought the case could go this far was because the non-boater prosecutor not being able to understand how dangerous to drive 40 MPH, even worse in the dark night. I think it is fair to compare the case to driving a car 150MPH in the residential area, 12AM in the morning and thinking no body would be on the street. Or if anybody be walking, they'd carry a small flash light and you expect to spot them and stop on a dime at 150MPH.

Now I think it might be really beyond the "Non-Boater's understanding" issue, given several marine safety experts testified. The nation-wide coverage of the case might be able to generate the pressure for justice or initiate investigation into the possibility of inappropriate handling of the case by the law enforcement of Lake County.

Regards,
Jeff

I Was There

I could have sworn this was already posted here, right before Lynn Thornton's cousin's comment. Luckily it was still on the other blog about the cliffhanger and I could copy and paste. Are all comments posted or are they editing the ones they don't like?

To all of you who see it one way:
I see it another. Yes, I am a friend of Perdock's, just as apparently some of you were friends of the Thornton family, and are friends of Dinius or Weber. I, nor anyone else I know has ever said anything about Lynn Thornton in any negative manner. From all reports she was a beautiful person. I have no doubt. The problem I am having is the fact that Mr. Perdock is being made out to be a liar and corrupt. He is neither of these. He is a wonderful caring man who volunteers in his community, does lots of things with and for his children and others. He is a wonderful son and father. Anyone who truly knows him, knows this to be the truth.
This case was evaluated by several law enforcement entities, including the California State Department of Justice. (Which for the people who keep saying the Attorney General's office should step in, should know that the Attorney General actually oversees the California State Department of Justice.) This case will now go before a jury of peers to determine Dinius' guilt or innocence. Perdock has been found to have no criminal fault in this collision. He was required by law to be able to stop or avert his boat in half the distance of forward visibility. He could see all the way across the lake, therefore, he would be required to stop half way across the lake. Had the boat had its lights on he would have been able to see, thus avoid, collision. As far as the lights go, there were witnesses who say the lights were on, Doug Jones for one. If you heard his testimony, he did not witness the accident. He saw lights on the boat approximately 2 hours before the crash. Mr. Perdock nor anyone else has ever disputed the fact that the cabin lights were on. The problem again with this is the fact that Mr. Weber was standing in the doorway of the cabin at the time of the collision which would have blocked the light. As well as the fact that the windows of the sailboat were tinted which would also block the light. The lights required for night navigation would be the running lights, (bow and stern lights). These are the lights in question. While you believe the expert witness, I believe the eye witnesses, of which there were nine. Including Mr. Peter Elmer who claimed Perdock was driving way too fast. Funny how you believe him in regard to speed but not in regard to lights. The problem here is just that. Who to believe. I believe Mr. Perdock and know he is neither a liar nor corrupt man. The media is swaying this one way. I guess the jury will decide, based on ALL of the evidence they will hear in the trial. I believe they will find Mr. Dinius guilty of the charges filed.

I Was There

Dan,
I just got your note. How nice of you!
You’re telling me you, “EXAMINED each of the people who claim the sailboat had no lights on. There are problems with their stories.”? Problems with all NINE of the witnesses stories? How exactly do you EXAMINE a person? I don’t believe you EXAMINED Mr. Perdock or his two friends. Now Peter Elmer did get to be on your news report and I find the fact that you put his comment about Mr. Perdock’s speed on TV but not his comment about the fact that he didn’t see any lights on the sailboat, quite interesting. What “problem” exactly did you find with his story about the lights? Or that of his wife who apparently was also an EYE witness to the crash and saw no lights? Apparently there was only a problem with “the lights”, part o his story…? My problem with your reporting isn’t what you report, it is what you purposely omit. Like the fact that Dinius had a previous DUI.
Because apparently, you had access to all of the depositions, you knew that Perdock was not under the influence of alcohol and you had his blood alcohol results as well. You chose to add at the end of your report that, it is, (and unfortunately I don’t remember your exact words, but I could look it up on my recordings if I wanted to,) rumored or there is a suggestion or something to that effect that Perdock’s blood alcohol was taken 24 hours later. I believe you already knew that was not the truth. Just as you made the comment about a rumor that Beland was ORDERED not to breathalize Perdock. I believe you knew that was not the truth either. You also knew that none of the people involved, even though Dinius and Weber had to have been clearly under the influence, were breathalized.

But thank you for the personal attention. Although I don’t appreciate it nearly as much as our local news reporters might. It was nice of you to provide the reporter for our local paper a photo of Perdock. It was NOT nice of you to make fun of her to your camera person when you finished speaking with her. I overheard you conversation about her trying to interview you, saying “some people are saying you are siding with the defense, how do you defend yourself?” You and the camera woman enjoyed a good chuckle over that. I, however, do wonder the same question as the people the news reporter speaks.

So, to summarize, I do not clearly accept what the judge and prosecution say without question. I am not sure what you were doing, although I did catch you trying to doze off a few times when it was not Perdock on the stand, but I was listening to every witness and every word that was said in the court and that is how I base my opinion. I believe that your job as a journalist is to give the people all of the information, unbiased so that they can form an opinion from what is presented from both sides. I believe that you are purposely trying to sway opinion of the public to the defense side. And for what purpose, I cannot say. I just keep coming back to the same conclusion. If the story were, "two drunks were out sailing at night with no lights on, and got hit by a powerboat going across the water and one of their passengers was killed," it wouldn’t sell much TV time now would it?

***NOTE FROM DAN: How nice of you to eavesdrop on a whispered conversation -- and yet, get it wrong. Please say "hello" the next time we're in court. We always try to present the story as accurately and fairly as possible, and will continue to do so as this case moves forward. ***

Justice or Just-Us?

To the outside world, it looks like there is an attitude here that if someone is your friend, then they should be allowed to get away with manslaughter (so long as the person who they killed is not someone you like) and that you can crucify some other person who didn't cause the death to take the fall for it (so long as that person is not someone you like).

The attitude appears to be: it’s not really “justice,” it’s “just us.”

It looks like there is one set of rules for the privileged class of insider friends and another set of rules for everyone else.

In my humble opinion, anyone who values partisanship and friendship above our most strongly held laws against taking a human life, has gone too far.

The reason people are looking at what is happening in Lake County is because this kind of attitude sticks in the craw of most red-blooded Americans who take pride in their system of justice, the Constitution, and the basic ideals of fair play and equality before the law.

It is not about liking or siding with one person or another. It is not about badmouthing the reporters or others who believe the law of manslaughter should be applied equally and fairly applied, and good mouthing your friends.

It is about caring about principled conduct, and the value and dignity of the Law, and about seeing that something has gone terribly wrong when the principle of responsibility for wrongfully taking a human life seems not to apply when the perpetrator is an insider or friend of the decision-makers.

In my opinion, people who make decisions in this manner should not be in decision-making positions in the administration of justice because they ask for respect for the Law, but they themselves do not respect the Law enough to place it above all else, when it really counts.


I Was There

Well said, I don't disagree with the basics of what you are saying. Again my problem goes to the fact that vital information to the community is purposely being left out. You certainly have a right to your opinion. I just believe that your opinion should be based on ALL of the facts, not just what the news media chooses to report. I think the fact that there were nine eyewitnesses to the actual crash that say there were no lights on, is vital to the community. If you are still of the belief that being drunk and having no lights doesn't matter, that is your opinion. The law sees it differently. The law, including the Californina State Department of Justice. Are they corrupt also?

*** NOTE FROM DAN NOYES: There are NOT nine witnesses who say the sailboat's lights were off. It's a big difference from saying, "I didn't see the sailboat" to "I saw the sailboat and its lights were not on." Seven of "I Was There"'s 9 witnesses say, "I didn't see the sailboat." The final two -- the fishermen -- say they saw the sailboat with its lights off. But, there are problems with their story. They say they first saw the sailboat out on the water after 6pm, when Beats Workin' II was docked. They reported seeing the boat with no one in the cockpit -- they said the passengers must have been in the cabin. All the survivors from Beats Workin' II say they never went inside the cabin. One fisherman says they lit up the sailboat with a spotlight before the crash -- no one on board remembers a spotlight shining on them. The other fisherman says they used the spotlight only after the crash. Lots of inconsistencies. Further, a sailboat's lights -- if you happen to be at the correct angle to see them -- often blend in with the lights on shore, especially on a dark night if the outline of the sailboat is not visible from other radiant light. We'll see what the jury decides. ***

LYNN

I didn't know a blind man could drive a power boat legally. If you can't see why would you speed..
He was reckless lst, the alcohol wasn't the cause of the accident. Speed and the weight of the hull and lack of control caused Thornton's death.

I Was There

Dan,
I don't believe I got it completely wrong. I think I got the gist of it. You were speaking in open court, and I am sure you are aware people are watching you. I think it is very important for ALL of the people involved in this matter to present themselves very professionally. As I said, people are watching.
Oh, by the way, Did Haltom find his wallet?

I Was There

Dan,
I won't get in a battle of words with a journalist of your caliber, as not doubt, I could not win.
My point is that it was said in court that there were nine witnesses to the crash. You did not report this because you believe there are problems with their stories. That does not change the fact that these witnesses testimonies, we can assume, will be presented at trial. You have the power to pick and choose what you believe to be important or not.
I believe they are important and I believe that the fact that Dinius had a previous DUI is also important.
So by you saying you report as accurately and fairly as you see fit, doesn't necessarily mean that it is so.
But again, thank you for the personal attention. I must be more important than I thought.

aloha27

That Dinius had a previous DUI is not revelant to this case.

The fact is that Perdock, knowing there were usually vessels on the lake at night, chose to recklessly navigate his vessel at 40+ knots and had done so on other occasions. This was no accident. Speed and speed alone was the cause of this tragedy.

There is no doubt in my mind that the nav lights of the sailboat were on at the time of the crash, Perdock simply didn't see them.

Great investigative work Dan. Thank You on behalf of the boating community.

I Was There

Hey Mom, Auntie,
Check this out! This will be the third time I have posted this comment in response to "Note from Dan". However, they keep editing out Dan's comment and just leaving mine. Do they think this will make me look like I don't know what I am talking about?

***NOTE FROM DAN: How nice of you to eavesdrop on a whispered conversation -- and yet, get it wrong. Please say "hello" the next time we're in court. We always try to present the story as accurately and fairly as possible, and will continue to do so as this case moves forward. ***

Dan,
I don't believe I got it completely wrong. I think I got the gist of it. You were speaking in open court, and I am sure you are aware people are watching you. I think it is very important for ALL of the people involved in this matter to present themselves very professionally. As I said, people are watching.
Oh, by the way, Did Haltom find his wallet?

Posted by: I Was There | June 14, 2008 at 11:16 AM


I Was There

Mom, Auntie,
Third time I've posted this one as well. Again, they just keep removing the copy of his comment that I put before mine.

*** NOTE FROM DAN NOYES: There are NOT nine witnesses who say the sailboat's lights were off. It's a big difference from saying, "I didn't see the sailboat" to "I saw the sailboat and its lights were not on." Seven of "I Was There"'s 9 witnesses say, "I didn't see the sailboat." The final two -- the fishermen -- say they saw the sailboat with its lights off. But, there are problems with their story. They say they first saw the sailboat out on the water after 6pm, when Beats Workin' II was docked. They reported seeing the boat with no one in the cockpit -- they said the passengers must have been in the cabin. All the survivors from Beats Workin' II say they never went inside the cabin. One fisherman says they lit up the sailboat with a spotlight before the crash -- no one on board remembers a spotlight shining on them. The other fisherman says they used the spotlight only after the crash. Lots of inconsistencies. Further, a sailboat's lights -- if you happen to be at the correct angle to see them -- often blend in with the lights on shore, especially on a dark night if the outline of the sailboat is not visible from other radiant light. We'll see what the jury decides. ***

Dan,
I won't get in a battle of words with a journalist of your caliber, as not doubt, I could not win.
My point is that it was said in court that there were nine witnesses to the crash. You did not report this because you believe there are problems with their stories. That does not change the fact that these witnesses testimonies, we can assume, will be presented at trial. You have the power to pick and choose what you believe to be important or not.
I believe they are important and I believe that the fact that Dinius had a previous DUI is also important.
So by you saying you report as accurately and fairly as you see fit, doesn't necessarily mean that it is so.
But again, thank you for the personal attention. I must be more important than I thought.

Posted by: I Was There | June 14, 2008 at 11:30 AM

I Was There

aloha27 said,

"That Dinius had a previous DUI is not revelant to this case.

The fact is that Perdock, knowing there were usually vessels on the lake at night, chose to recklessly navigate his vessel at 40+ knots and had done so on other occasions. This was no accident. Speed and speed alone was the cause of this tragedy.

There is no doubt in my mind that the nav lights of the sailboat were on at the time of the crash, Perdock simply didn't see them.

Great investigative work Dan. Thank You on behalf of the boating community."

Posted by: aloha27 | June 15, 2008 at 02:50 AM

You have a righ to your opinion, of course. My question is, if it is petinent to you that Perdock drove his boat on the lake at night as he did, why would it not be pertinent that Dinius boated, or drove as the case may be, drunk? And, I guess it might be conceivable that Perdock didn't see the lights if you want to stick to that story, but how do you account for the other 8 eye witnesses testimonies? ABC7 seemed to believe Mr. Elmer in regard to Perdock's speed but apparently not in regard to his statements about not seeing lights on the sailboat. You don't find that odd?

Susan

To: I Was There (who won't name himself/herself):

Did you see Wes Dodd's testimony? Did you read his report? Do you understand that he is the leading marine accident investigation guru in the state? Are you aware of how many provisions of the California Boating Law that Perdock violated, according to Dodd? Did you hear Dodd explain that he is currently working multiple marine accident cases for other prosecutors in California? Are you aware that virtually the entire sailing community is up in arms about this case? Are you a rational person, capable of setting aside your feelings for Perdock, when you look at this case?

Wake up. If Perdock had been driving at a reasonable speed --- say the 5 or 10 m.p.h. the Lake County cop testified was the max. safe speed --- a beautiful, innocent person would still be alive. Perdock did not intentionally take her life, but his recklessness did.

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