Wrongful death filing in Lake of the Ozarks drowning

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Sean Jouglard

In early August, 21-year-old Sean P. Jouglard of Waterloo was found deceased in deep Lake of the Ozarks waters. Now, his mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against three men. 

The suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Camden County, Mo. on Sept. 10, alleges Dylan McEwen of Caseyville, and Eric Goette and Ronald Goette of Columbia, contributed to Jougard’s drowning death. The lawsuit contains two wrongful death counts, the first alleging negligence against the operators of the boat at the time of Jouglard’s death and the second being negligent entrustment against the Goettes. 

It states that Eric Goette and McEwen were “incompetent” to drive the boat, a 2008 Monterey Open Bow owned by Ronald Goette, as they were allegedly physically impaired, intoxicated, operating the boat in a reckless manner, did not have adequate experience or training to safely operate the boat and did not “keep a careful lookout while driving the boat.” 

According to the suit, Ronald Goette “knew or had reason to know … at the time he entrusted both his real estate lake home and boat” that Eric was not competent to operate it. Furthermore, Eric let McEwen drive the boat on Aug. 8 knowing of his state of impairment and inexperience.

While the initial police report noted the responding officer was told Jouglard “exited (the boat) voluntarily to go swimming and did not resurface,” the suit alleges McEwen was driving the boat “in a reckless and dangerous condition and was attempting to jump a large wake from another boat,” causing Jouglard to fly off the boat into the lake and sustain fatal injuries. 

The suit alleges “no actual attempt by anyone in the boat was made to save or rescue Sean after being ejected from the boat.”

After Jouglard was ejected from the boat, Eric and McEwen allegedly did not attempt to find Jouglard and did not immediately call for help, the filing claims.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol told the Republic-Times on Wednesday that the investigation is still ongoing. The initial police report indicates Jouglard was not wearing a safety device at the time of the incident.

Jouglard’s mother is requesting damages in excess of $25,000 on all counts. 

For our initial report on this incident, click here.

To read the court filing, click here.

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