Fishing Lawsuits & Violations

$10 Million Lawsuit Filed in Connection with High School Angler's Death

pickwick-dam.jpg
C.B. Schmelter / The Jackson Sun

The fishing world was rocked in February 2020 when three individuals died while competing in an Obion County Central High School bass tournament. According to witnesses, the boat captain was having engine trouble the morning of the tournament before launch. Due to these mechanical issues, the team did not leave the dock with the rest of the field. People first believed they took the boat out of the water and went home, but it was later learned that they did, in fact, go fishing when their truck and empty boat trailer were found.

The preliminary TWRA investigation indicated that the Stratos bass boat containing 43-year-old Kenneth Driver (boat captain) and two 15-year-old boys went through the floodgates at Pickwick Dam and suffered serious damage. Search efforts were concentrated on a 14-mile stretch the Tennessee River for the missing boaters. The three people were reported missing on Sunday, February 23, after the fishermen failed to return after the tournament. Water and air searches were conducted for 19 straight days in the attempts to locate the missing boaters. All three of the missing bodies were recovered within the same area approximately nine miles from the dam.

Approximately a year after the incident, a $10 million lawsuit has been filed by Lisa Johnson, who is the surviving mother of Kenneth Driver II, one of the high-school anglers killed in the accident. County Attorney Steve Conley confirmed that the lawsuit had been filed during Monday's Obion County Commission meeting. 

Advertisement

According to Tennessee's Thunderbolt Radio, defendants of the lawsuit include the Obion County School District, the Obion County Board of Education, the Obion County Central High School fishing team, bass fishing coach William Thomas Simmons and Beau Pemberton, who is the administrator of the boat captain Kenneth Driver Sr.'s estate. 

The lawsuit is reportedly seeking $5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.