A Huntsville man has pled guilty for his involvement in a boating accident that claimed the life of a 48-year-old swimmer.
Appearing in a Bracebridge courtroom recently, Zavier Foyston, 26, pled guilty to operating a pleasure craft in a careless manner.
Court heard that on July 25, 2022, at 6:39 a.m. Foyston left his family cottage on Lake Rosseau and headed by boat toward the Muskoka Golf and Country Club docks. For the previous two years, Fotston used the docks and then drove his vehicle to work from there.
Court heard Foyston was not impaired and had gone to sleep at 9 or 10 p.m. the evening before the accident.
The “Boston Whaler” style boat he was driving had been purchased the previous month but he had driven it some 12 times prior to the accident.
Court heard at the time of the accident the sun was rising and directly in front and to the left of his vision. The waves were also higher than normal for that time of day.
Foyston began to slow down as he approached the docks and not was not speeding at the time of the accident. At 6:46 am Foyston felt a thud but assumed it was a rock or an animal. As he was docking his vessel, he heard someone yell that there was a body in the water. Court heard Foytson then realized what had happened and called 9-1-1. He also provided “significant assistance to EMS when they arrived on the scene, court heard.
The swimmer was staying at nearby Shamrock Lodge and visiting from Massachusetts. He was roughly 180 m north and 120 m east of the mainland and was wearing a wetsuit with an orange flotation device.
Foyston said he had never seen a simmer that far from the shore.
The swimmer was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Foyston was also taken to hospital after going into shock.
Court heard that by failing to see the swimmer and floatation device, Foyston operated in a careless manner.
Speaking for the defence, Matthew Gourlay said the consequences of the incident were the most severe possible. He pointed out that Foyston boated nearly every day and had also suffered severe psychological trauma after the incident. He also explained that Foyston has no criminal record.
Justice Sarah Tarcza the case demonstrates that even a mometary lack of attention can have tragic outcomes.
Foyston was sentenced to a $10,000 fine, the maximum for that crime.
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