NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Three years after a Norfolk police boat flipped over, there are lawsuits circulating to find out who is at fault.
The patrol boat overturned at the Willoughby Marina the afternoon of March 21, 2014 and five of the boaters, including three police officers had to be rescued.
According to recently filed court documents, the man operating the boat was Norfolk Police Officer Richard Hryniewich.
The preliminary investigation revealed the crews were testing the motor when the boat flipped over. The incident report says there was no evidence of gross operator error or equipment malfunction, but it does say the operator was going about 45 miles per hour when the boat made a sharp turn and flipped.
An incident report says that March 21, 2014 was a clear day and no other vessels were involved in the accident. The operator had two and a half months experience on the vessel and had completed a tactical course.
The report states mechanics found both engines were running properly before the accident and there were no issues found with the hull, motors or steering on the vessel.
None of the victims received serious injuries. The manager of Willard Marine Services broke his arm and one of the officers received lacerations.
In separate lawsuits filed last month, two Willard Marine employees — David Glover and Timothy Pridemore — claim Hryniewich and the City of Norfolk were negligent and reckless, causing them injury. They are seeking a total of $8 million in damages.
On March 17, 2017, the City of Norfolk and Officer Richard Hryniewich responded with a suit of their own against Willard Marine Services and another business, Safe Boats International. They allege there wasn’t a proper handbook in the vessel to warn and alert to the fact that it wasn’t safe for SBI-Manufactured vessels to turn at high speed.
The suit goes onto say that the city and the officer were not properly warned of the “unreasonably dangerous condition” and alleging the company should have known the boat has a tendency to capsize at a high speed.