A boat crash off Dockton Park killed 28-year-old Justin Hagerty, a lifelong islander, last Saturday night.
King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said the incident occurred about 10:45 p.m., when two boats were returning from an event at the Tacoma Dome. One of the boats, a 20-foot, 200-horse power motorboat with six people on board, was driven by Hagerty, who hit a moored sailboat and was thrown into Puget Sound. People in the boat accompanying Hagerty’s were able to pull him from the water and administered CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived.
The responders also attempted life-saving efforts, but were not able to revive him. The King County Medical Examiner determined that Hagerty drowned.
The five passengers in Hagerty’s boat were injured, including three with broken bones, Abbott said. He noted that a 27-year-old male passenger was also ejected from the vessel, but was assisted by people in the other boat as well. The injured passengers were transported to Harborview Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries; The Seattle Times reported three underwent surgery. Abbott said two were released from the hospital with minor injuries. The remaining four passengers were men ages 29 and 31 and women ages 26 and 28.
Vashon Island Fire & Rescue responded to the scene, calling in off-duty personnel to assist with the number of injured people. Assistant Chief Bob Larsen noted that enough personnel responded, but the department was stretched thin.
Abbott said that “good samaritans” towed Hagerty’s boat to shore, and the King County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the crash, took possession of it. On Monday, Abbott said investigators suspected that speed and alcohol played a role. He also said that Hagerty’s boat did not have radar or GPS, which are not required, but make boating at night safer. Additionally, he noted that Hagerty’s boat had three life jackets for the six people, but none were being used at the time of the collision. The investigation’s final findings will include results from a toxicology report, due in six weeks.
The 38-foot sailboat Hagerty hit was unoccupied and legally moored, Abbott said, and about 200 yards off shore.
Hagerty’s mother, Susan Pitiger, called Justin a “very kind, gentle and compassionate young man” whose passions included boating, motorcycling, snowboarding and driving his ATV. He recently marked seven years as an employee at H-E Parts International in Seattle, where he served as the lead diesel mechanic.
In addition to his mother, Justin Hagerty’s family members include his father, Rick Hagerty; stepfather Joe Allison; sister Shawna Pitiger, and sister Jasmine Baker and her husband Elric Baker. Susan Pitiger also included among the family members Justin’s black lab Rocko, who was always at his side.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help with the cost of funeral arrangements and other expenses. As of Tuesday morning, it had raised nearly $14,000.