A Pacific Northwest Chapter spent their Spring Break on houseboats at Lake Shasta. It is the tradition at the university for all undergrads to vacation there, and it was also known as a place to informally rush pledges for the following fall. The chapter invited a group of friends, brothers, pledges and guests to kick back and relax for a week on several houseboats. To make it easier to reserve the boat and collect money from guests, a brother paid for the rental of the boat and had the guests reimburse him. Though it was never intended to be a chapter event, one of the brothers made up t-shirts that has the organization’s name and “Shasta 1988” printed on it to commemorate the event.
The boat company, Water Boats, Inc., was aware that the men appointed to be captains did not have extensive training on driving boats. The company did require that these men go through a safety lecture before anyone boarded the vessels. Water Boats, Inc. was also aware that large amounts of alcohol were probably going to be brought aboard. Individuals brought on kegs and various bottles of hard liquor to share with everyone. All of the guests on the boat decided to partake in the fun and consumed alcohol on the trip. The first night was a big one. Nearly all of the guests, including a brother’s date named Kathleen Masters, stayed up until 5:00 a.m. partying and drinking. The next morning, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Kathleen woke up and went to sit in the sun at the edge of the boat, near the motor. Many of the guests were still intoxicated, including Kathleen. The driver, Marty, was not legally intoxicated. He had consumed alcohol the night before and had not slept in over 36 hours. Everyone on the boat wanted to get an early start on the lake and anchor out at a prime spot. Without warning, Marty put the boat in gear, and it began to move forward.
Kathleen lost her balance, fell in the water and was immediately sucked into the propeller. Two brothers jumped in to help her. Despite their attempts at rescue, Kathleen’s foot got caught in the motor’s blades. She was air lifted to a trauma hospital. Kathleen sustained broken bones, lacerations, multiple contusions and abrasions to her lower left foot and ankle. She lost her fifth toe as well as the majority of her fourth toe. In spite of all that was done for her, Kathleen has suffered much pain and long-term damage. She will live with the deformity of her left foot forever and will never be able to walk without wearing shoes.