LUNENBURG — The driver of a boat that collided with a kayaker on Lake Shirley in May, leaving the victim with serious injuries, was arraigned in District Court Monday on several charges related to the incident, according to court and police documents.
Arthur A. MaGurn, 53, of Pearl Street, Lunenburg, was piloting his bass boat during the early afternoon on Saturday, May 4 on Lake Shirley, according to a report on the incident by the state Environmental Police.
The EP officer, once arriving at the scene, interviewed a passenger in MaGurn’s 20-foot Skeeter Bass Boat. The passenger told the officer that just prior to the collision, he and Magurn had been fishing in one of the several coves on the lake.
The passenger told the officer as the two were leaving the cove, they were talking to one another. It was then when Magurn accelerated the boat, causing its bow to lift — which can also restrict the operator’s view of what is directly in front — before it begins planing or flattening out.
It was at that moment, when the bow was out of the water, the two heard a woman scream and the boat collided with the victim’s kayak, according to what the passenger told the officer.
MaGurn immediately stopped the boat, leaving behind the passenger, and jumped in the water to provide assistance to the victim, who was unconscious and face down in the water, the boat’s passenger and McGurn reported to the officer.
With the help of a another boater, McGurn was able to get the victim, later identified as Sandra Perko, of Lunenburg, into his boat. When the victim was aboard, she was still unconscious and had a cut on her head, McGurn said. She regained consciousness after a few minutes, said McGurn to the officer, and he then took her ashore for medical help.
Witnesses the officer spoke to confirmed McGurn’s and his passenger’s sequence of events.
Once an ambulance arrived, the victim, who was wearing a life jacket, was transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester for treatment, according to the officer’s report.
Five days later, the officer interviewed the victim, who was still being treated at the Worcester medical center.
The officer reported the victim still had visible bruises on her head, neck, and upper right arm. She also had an area above her left eye that was swollen because of a laceration that was sutured. She also had a laceration on her leg, the officer reported.
The victim told the officer that while she out kayaking she spotted McGurn’s boat and noticed it was coming at her and then noticed McGurn was not looking where he was going.
When she realized the boat was not stopping, she raised her paddle and began screaming.
The next thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital, she told the officer.
After the investigation, the officer determined McGurn was responsible for the incident by not maintaining a proper lookout and should have yielded to the kayaker.
As a result of the incident, McGurn was cited for unsafe operation of a motor boat, and two citations for an equipment violation – there was not a throwable life ring or anchor on board.
McGurn, who pleaded not guilty, was released after the arraignment on a written promise to re-appear in court on Oct. 1.
A GoFundMe page was created to address the costs associated with Perko’s injury.
On the fundraising page, it mentions Perko has a long history on Shirley Lake, as her parents purchased property there in 1948. The Lunenburg resident often cruised the lake in her kayak, as she was doing when the accident occurred.
“Sandra said that the last thing she remembers was seeing the bottom of the boat and the next thing she knew she was waking up in the hospital with severe head injuries,” the GoFundMe page states.
The page states Perko spent an extended period of time in intensive care while recovering from her life-threatening injuries.
According to the fundraising page, Perko returned to her Lunenburg home at the beginning of June, though the road to recovery continues.
To date, her GoFundMe page has raised $9,250 of the $10,000 requested. To access the page, visit gofundme.com/f/support-for-sandra-kayaker-struck-by-speedboat.