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Court Releases Accident Report On Injured GOP Congressman

Boat accidents are on the rise all across the United States. While boat accidents don’t get as much attention as car accidents, they are still a big problem.

A hotly anticipated report issued this week by a Montana court on its investigation of a 2009 boat accident that badly injured Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican from Montana, offered little new information on the incident.

Jon Tester, U.S. Senator from Montana

Jon Tester, U.S. Senator from Montana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democrats had privately hoped for months that the report would prove politically costly to Rehberg, but little in the report is new and it did not include any statements from the congressman.

The report comes amid a heated campaign between Rehberg and Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who are locked in a tight race that will help determine who wins the Senate majority.

It had been seen as a possible game-changer because the accident involved drinking and boating and also injured two Rehberg staffers.

The court released its probe after a judge granted a request from the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and The Associated Press. Rehberg’s campaign did not oppose the release of a redacted version of the 155-page document, but has ripped CREW as a liberal group aligned with the Democratic Party.

Rehberg, his wife, two staffers and then-state Rep. Greg Barkus were injured in 2009 after Barkus ran his boat aground following a night of drinking at a Montana restaurant. One of Rehberg’s staffers was put in a coma, while the congressman suffered a broken leg, fractured eye socket and cracked ribs. Barkus pleaded guilty to criminal endangerment.

The report states that Barkus had been drinking that evening, as had Rehberg and others onboard, information that has been public for some time.

Rehberg’s campaign in a statement said it supported the release of the report.

Tester’s campaign attacked Rehberg for saying shortly after the crash that he didn’t know Barkus was drunk when they got on the boat despite evidence to the contrary, but the attack was mostly a rehash of previous criticism.

Rehberg told reporters shortly after the crash that “there were no signs of impairment” from Barkus, though others present said he’d had a few glasses of scotch and some wine and two hours after the accident his blood alcohol level was still twice the legal limit.

If you or a loved one were the victim of a boat accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.