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8 November 2010

Crime and punishment

Updated 1 November 2012. See text below.

Original. The Barkus boat wreck saga appears to be concluding with a plea agreement, according to stories in the Beacon and InterLake. This is no surprise. Most of Barkus’ motions to suppress evidence and so forth were denied several weeks ago, which left him in the position of cutting the best deal he could given the evidence against him.

Given how seriously Barkus and his passengers were injured, the role that alcohol may have played, and the incompetent seamanship, it’s hard for me to imagine Barkus’ avoiding pleading to a felony, but he has a good attorney and stranger things have happened.

I will, however, be quite angry if the deal includes sealing the record and suppressing the reports of the accident investigators. Something very odd happened — my best guess is that Barkus looked at his GPS, thought he was heading for the Flathead River instead of the Swan River, and put his boat hard right; right into the rocks — and I think the cause of boating safety will be furthered if the facts are released.

Update, 1 November 2012. Now we know for sure what happened. Barkus misread his GPS. He thought he was headed to the Flathead River. Instead of stopping to verify his position, he maintained his speed, swung right, and ran his boat right into the rocks. At 40+ mph. In the dead of night.

Below, two excerpts from the report released by Flathead Clerk of Court Peg Allison on 31 October 2012. According to the watercraft accident report, booze, going too fast, no proper lookout, and operator inattention were contributing factors. Their Christian name: Greg Barkus.


From page 3, pre-sentence investigation report, Barkus crash PDF


From page 2 of Nathan Reiner’s Montana Watercraft Accident Report