A federal judge in Los Angeles has ordered the Navy to pay $2.3 million to survivors of a 1984 speedboat accident in Anaheim Bay and to families of the five who were killed.
In his brief written decision, Judge James M. Ideman ordered money paid to survivors Carol Kemble, then 25, of Laguna Beach; Ernest Chavez, then 24, of Westminster, and Stephen Brennan, then 24, of Long Beach.
The largest award went to Brennan, who attorneys said was left with brain damage after the accident. The rest will go to the five families of the dead.
The judge ruled that the evidence supported the plaintiffs' claims that the Navy was partly responsible for the boat crash because the bay, which is under the Navy's jurisdiction, was not properly maintained or policed.
Virl Earles of Westminster, 32, who was piloting the boat that March night, has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the case. Earles will not receive any of the $2.3 million because California law prohibits plaintiffs who are partially at fault in a case from receiving damages.
Admitted Driving Fast
Though the plaintiffs asked for awards of $750,000 for each death, attorney Dana D. Denton said Saturday, "I think that all of us on the plaintiffs' side will be happy."
In earlier court testimony, Earles admitted that he was driving up to five times the speed limit of 5 m.p.h. in the bay and was traveling without lights when his boat hit an unlighted mooring buoy. A blood test showed that Earles' blood-alcohol level was slightly above the legal limit.
Earles was sentenced to three years in state prison but is free on appeal.
Awards of more than $200,000 each will go to:
* Marie Katz, mother of Ronnie Myers, 22, of Seal Beach.
* Roberta Hulings, mother of Patricia Hulings, 20, of Downey.
* Estelle Schmid, mother of Kathy Schmid Weaver, 24, of Laguna Beach.
* Marlene and Richard Sutton, parents of Tony Sutton, 27, of Seal Beach.
* Terez Ujj, mother of John Bakos, 20, of Seal Beach.
Those recipients could not be reached for comment.