, Muskogee, OK

July 31, 2013

Boat pilot sued in deadly collision

Daughter of man killed in July 4 accident on Lake Eufaula seeks more than $75K

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A civil lawsuit seeking damages in excess of $75,000 alleges that a McAlester man caused a fatal boating accident July 4.

The suit alleges Ryan Shumway, 30, was driving a ski boat that hit a pontoon boat and caused the death of Gary McIninch, 55, of Oklahoma City.

The suit states McIninch, his daughter and her two children were watching a fireworks show from Lake Eufaula. The suit, which was filed by McIninch’s daughter, also alleges the collision injured the two children.

Tonia Foster’s lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in McIntosh County District Court, also names Shumway’s wife, Janai, as a defendant. Foster is the mother of the two children injured in the collision, the lawsuit states.

“There are a lot of questions that will, hopefully, be answered in the course of litigation,” said Foster’s attorney, Ed Blau of Oklahoma City.

An attorney of record for Shumway could not be located Tuesday, nor could Shumway be reached for comment.

Shumway turned himself in to the McIntosh County District Attorney’s office five days after the collision. Charges have not been filed against him.

The DA’s office has not received a report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which is investigating the case, a DA’s office spokeswoman said Tuesday.

OHP Capt. George Brown said he expects the report on the boating collision to be completed, reviewed and submitted by the end of this week.

The petition alleges Shumway was driving his boat at high speed when it hit the pontoon boat carrying Foster, McIninch, the children and other family members.

The petition says: “McIninch placed his body between Ryan Shumway’s careening boat and his granddaughters. The impact knocked Gary McIninch overboard.”

The two children, ages 7 and 6, were injured and flown by helicopter to an Oklahoma City hospital.

McIninch’s body was recovered two days later.

The suit alleges that Shumway and his wife “fled the scene without rendering aid” and that the couple were both negligent in operating the boat.

That negligence resulted in “physical pain and suffering” for the two children, “disfigurement and extreme mental anguish,” the petition says.

The suit also asks for punitive damages because of Shumway’s “gross negligence” and “disregard for the rights and health and welfare” of the two children.

Court records show that Shumway has had several driving infractions on state roads.

He was convicted of driving under the influence in July 2010 and has been cited three times for speeding, once for not wearing a seat belt, twice for having an open container of beer in his vehicle and twice for driving without a license since 2001, the records show.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or