Kyle Hartigan denies driving a boat in a high-speed crash that killed Daniel Lloyd in Peel Inlet

The captain of a boat, who is accused of killing a friend in a drunken high-speed crash south of Perth, claims it was the deceased man rather than him who was driving the vessel when it hit a flashing navigation marker.

Kyle James Hartigan, 27, is on trial in the WA Supreme Court for unlawfully killing Daniel Lloyd, 35, who died in the early hours of the morning on February 7, 2020.

He and Mr. Hartigan were ejected from the boat when it struck the beacon in Peel Inlet. Mr Lloyd suffered a fractured skull and died at the scene.

Mr. Hartigan was picked up by a friend who was in another boat.

The court heard the three men, who knew each other through work, had spent the evening before the accident drinking heavily when they made the “fatal” decision to go fishing.

State’s Attorney James Mactaggart said Mr Hartigan and Mr Lloyd were in a motorboat owned by Mr Hartigan’s father, while the third man was alone in another vessel.

The motorboat was traveling at excessive speed: witnesses

The speed limit in the area was between 8 and 12 knots, but witnesses fishing in the area said they saw the motorboat traveling at excessive speed, the court heard.

The court heard Kyle Hartigan didn’t see the marker because he was intoxicated and negligent.(ABC News: Armin Azad)

The boat hit the nav marker around 1am and Mr Mactaggart said it was the case with the prosecution that Mr Hartigan, who he said was driving, simply did not see it.

“Because (Mr Hartigan) was intoxicated and because of the careless and reckless manner in which he was driving the boat, he did not see the marker and he touched the marker.”

The accused was three to four times over the legal limit

A blood sample was taken from Mr Hartigan around 12 hours later, and the court was told an expert had calculated that his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been between 0.17 and 0 .24, or three to four times the legal rate. limit.

Mr Mactaggart said the boat, which continued after Mr Hartigan and Mr Lloyd were ejected from it, was later found by police in shallow water about two to three nautical miles away.

Pole in Peel Entrance
Officers could smell alcohol on the boat after it touched the marker.(Provided: Washington State Police)

He said it was found ‘on full throttle’ and the ‘smell’ of alcohol coming from it ‘hit the officers in the face’.

Tests of the boat later revealed it had a top speed of around 25 knots, which Mr Mactaggart said was “well above” the speed limit.

Mr Mactaggart said it was also alleged that Mr Hartigan told a witness immediately after the accident that it was his father’s boat and that he had hit something.

Mr Lloyd was driving, says defense lawyer

Mr. Hartigan denies being responsible for the accident and the death of his friend.

His solicitor, Tom Percy QC, said the only issue for the jury to determine would be who was driving the boat.

“We say it was the deceased. The prosecution says it was the defendant,” Mr Percy said.

Kyle James Hartigan
The court heard that Mr Hartigan did not see the marker because he was intoxicated and negligent. (ABC News: Provided)

In an opening speech, Mr Percy said Mr Hartigan, who had a recreational skipper’s ticket, was driving the ship, but that changed later when Mr Lloyd, who was wearing a moon boot, became unsteady on his feet.

Mr Percy said there was only one seat on the boat, so it was decided that Mr Lloyd would sit there, and because he was behind the driver’s wheel, “he took control.”

“From that point on, the deceased was the driver,” Mr Percy said.

The court was told it was likely that Mr Hartigan would testify in his defence.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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