* Paragraphs clarified or corrected since original report.
Remember when the Orange County Register wondered if a stoned seaman caused the August 2012 wreck of the Aegean, a Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race entrant that crashed off the Coronado Islands, killing four men?
Well, family members of the skipper, who was not on the pot, are suing the maker of the boat's emergency alert system.
* Redondo Beach's Theofanis Mavromatis, who was not the sailor said by authorities to have marijuana in his system but a 49-year-old former Boeing and Raytheon executive, captained the Aegean before the 37-foot Hunter was found in pieces off the tip of North Coronado Island on April 28, 2012.
The U.S. Coast Guard Two months later, an independent panel of the United States Sailing Association partly blamed the accident on the Aegean not having a lookout on deck, but the Mavromatis family disputed those findings as premature. The U.S. Coast Guard has yet to release the findings of its own investigation.
Theofanis' widow Loren Christina Mavromatis and her three children filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against SPOT LLC, the alert system's maker, and Amazon.com, which sold the product.
The suit alleges SPOT's SPT GPS Messenger failed, as advertised, to notify emergency services of the Aegean's GPS location in the event of an emergency. The system's alleged failures caused Mavromatis to suffer “severe injuries and ultimately death,” according to the complaint.
Company officials could not be reached for comment on the suit, which alleges negligence, wrongful death and breach of warranty and seeks unspecified damages and burial costs.
The U.S. Coast Guard recovered the bodies of the deceased eight days after the wreckage was spotted. Toxicology reports later revealed no alcohol in the bodies of the four sailors but did confirm the presence of marijuana in 64-year-old Floridian Joseph Lester Stewart, reported my colleague Nick Schou at the time. William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, and Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach, also perished.
This year's race is April 25.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.