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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Passengers refute accident details

  • The accident report involving a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper on Lake of the Ozarks is drawing criticism from one passenger who says the information released to the public is incorrect.

    A passenger on the boat was struck by the trooper over the Labor Day weekend is refuting the official crash report.
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  • The accident report involving a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper on Lake of the Ozarks is drawing criticism from one passenger who says the information released to the public is incorrect.
    A passenger on the boat was struck by the trooper over the Labor Day weekend is refuting the official crash report.
    Jim Moore alleges the boat he was riding in was traveling straight and was hit by the patrol boat.
    Moore who is from St. Louis was visiting friends over the holiday weekend. The group of friends were out enjoying a boat ride when the accident happened, he alleges.
    "Bottom line the boat ran into us, we didn't run into them," passenger Jim Moore said. "The police were running without their lights on.We were driving straight and they ran into us."
    The report posted on the highway patrol's website on Friday, Aug. 30, stated the accident occurred as the boat driven by Highway Patrol officer Stephen Burgun was traveling upstream and a boat driven by Brian Pecenka was traveling downstream.
    According to the report, the Pecenka boat did not have bow lights and turned in the southwesterly direction, into the path of the Burgun boat. The Burgun boat then struck the Formula Pecenka was driving on the starboard side causing the vessel to flood and capsize. The estimated damage was $10,000.
    The accident left several with injuries, including Pacenka who was taken to Lake Regional before being transferred to the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics in Columbia.
    Pacenka was cited for boating while intoxicated.
    Moore alleges the Highway Patrol boat was technically unmanned when it struck the boat he was in.
    "The police officer jumped out of boat. We were hit by an unmanned police boat," Moore said. "Police officer made no attempt to help us."
    Everyone in the group was wearing life jackets. They were pulled from the water by a passerby who took them to a nearby home.
    A toxicology report on the driver is currently being done. Moore alleges that he believes it will come back negative.
    An additional passenger, Mary Kamakas, alleges that their boat did indeed have lights on and did not see the Highway Patrol Marine Division boat coming. She told Lake News that she felt an explosion and hit the windshield of the vessel.
    Kamakas also said that she has known the driver, Pecenka, for years and knows him as a very experienced boater. She also does not believe that Pecenka was intoxicated.
    The Highway Patrol said the allegations made by Moore are not correct.
    Sgt. Paul Reinsch said that it is untrue that the highway patrol boat did not have lights on, Reinsch said the officer saw the oncoming vessel and turned on his emergency lights before jumping out of the vessel.
    Page 2 of 2 - Reinsch said that according to Burgun and witnesses the other boat did not have lights.
    Reinsch also said that he is unsure of where the officer landed and if he could hear the other boat passengers yelling for help.
    The report did not say what speed the two boats were believed to be traveling when they collided.
    The officer was treated for injuries and released. Burgun has been with the Water Patrol since December 2007.
    The accident is still under investigation, according to Reinsch.
    Editor's Note: Moore is not listed as a passenger on the Highway Patrol crash report available online because he was not injured from the incident. Missouri Highway Patrol confirmed that Moore was on board. Four passengers are listed, but eight were on board the vessel.
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