The parents of a Texas Tech graduate killed in a boating accident May 26, 2003, dropped civil charges on June 24 against the owners of the boat involved in their daughter's death. Judd and Betty Putnam, the parents of Laura Putnam, filed a lawsuit a year ago against Berkley Dawson and his brother Vincent Dawson, owners of Bud Co. in San Antonio.
Robert Newman, attorney for the Dawsons, said it is his understanding the Putnams dropped the civil suit because law enforcement officials determined the Dawsons were asleep during the accident and unaware their boat was being used.
"It has become clear that the Dawsons had nothing to do with this," Newman said.
The Dawsons were always confident that when people had the chance to hear their side of the story, they would not be a part of a civil suit, Newman said.
"The Dawsons became aware their boat was part of the accident three weeks later," he said. "They didn't know until then."
Greg Marks, attorney for the Putnams, is unavailable for comment for two weeks.
The accident occurred May 26 on Lake LBJ near San Antonio, when the boat allegedly driven by Robert Napier Corrigan III hit the starboard side of Putnam's boat in a glancing blow and flew over the top of it.
Putnam took a direct blow to the head from the hit and was knocked into the water. Her body was recovered two weeks later. The autopsy showed Putnam died of drowning.
Her fiance, Justin Moore, and Jerry Neil Cypert also were in the boat when the accident occurred.
Frio County officials arrested Corrigan, a 28-year-old commercial real estate agent in San Antonio at REOC Partners, on Oct. 1 while he was on a hunting trip, ending a four-month investigation into the boat collision.
Corrigan was indicted Oct. 8 on charges of failure to stop and give assistance after the Memorial Day boating accident. His criminal trial is set for November.
No criminal charges were brought against the Dawsons, said Chief Criminal Investigator for the District Attorney's Office Henry A. Nolan.
While the Dawsons are no longer part of the civil suit, Newman said they will provide as much information as they did during the investigation by answering questions for officials.
"The Dawsons truly have been concerned and continue to hope the Putnams find peace and closure in this matter," Newman said. "They will continue to cooperate with police and the Putnams in any way."