Victims’ family suing in deadly Lauderdale County boat crash

Ross Wooten

Family members of the victims are suing the driver and the owner of the boat involved in the deadly crash.

Posted: Feb 28, 2020 8:37 AM
Updated: Feb 28, 2020 9:59 AM

Family members of the victims in a fatal Lauderdale County boat crash are suing the owner and the operator of the boat.

The crash happened in June 2019 and claimed the lives of Lauren Cowart, 37, and her 5-year-old daughter, Blakely. The boat they were in, which was driven by Ross Wooten, collided with a large cruiser on Shoals Creek.

Wooten was indicted in September 2019 for two counts of manslaughter. The Lauderdale County District Attorney's Office said his blood alcohol content was 0.121.

The lawsuit was filed by Cowart's mother, Elizabeth Livingston, and Blakely's father, Jason Cowart. They are suing Wooten and Susan Borden, the boat's owner, along with 10 other unnamed defendants for damages resulting from the crash.

The lawsuit alleges the crash was caused by “the negligent and/or reckless actions” of Wooten and by the “negligent actions” of Borden. It says Wooten had permission from Borden at the time to drive the boat.

Plaintiffs are suing unnamed defendants for “negligently furnishing alcohol to the Defendant Wooten while he was in a noticeably intoxicated condition and with actual knowledge he would be operating a watercraft.” It says this “caused or contributed to the deaths of Lauren and/or Blakely Cowart.”

According to the lawsuit, the unnamed defendants are currently unknown.

Wooten is accused of “operating the boat at nighttime with minor children on board and without proper lighting, Wooten was also operating the boat at a high rate of speed, traveling at least 20-25 miles per hour,” the complaint says.

It also accuses Wooten of turning his boat directly into the path of the other boat, causing the deadly crash.

“Wooten has a long history of substance abuse and was not competent or qualified to safely operate a boat on the waters of the State of Alabama,” the lawsuit says. It says Borden was aware of the alleged “history of substance abuse” and that Wooten consumed alcohol prior to driving the boat the night of the crash.

You can read our previous stories about the crash here and here.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
51° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 51°
Florence
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 53°
Fayetteville
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 50°
Decatur
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 51°
Scottsboro
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 48°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131405

Reported Deaths: 2292
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 184409

Reported Deaths: 2233
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30155447
Davidson26017293
Hamilton914489
Rutherford903187
Knox899872
Williamson508936
Sumner470593
Wilson337343
Putnam307037
Out of TN301324
Montgomery296243
Unassigned28916
Bradley285816
Madison270156
Sevier251813
Blount244023
Maury226023
Washington217933
Robertson217233
Sullivan205431
Hamblen183825
Tipton173917
Trousdale16517
Gibson153819
Hardeman153225
Wayne14805
Bedford130916
Dyer127912
Dickson119913
Cumberland115317
Fayette114318
Anderson113311
Henderson113119
Carter112627
Weakley111819
Loudon11156
Coffee110812
Greene110737
Obion10889
McMinn106824
Jefferson106614
Macon102020
Warren10127
Monroe100116
Lawrence97011
Hardin96714
Lauderdale93615
Haywood92116
Lake9152
Franklin9137
Bledsoe8454
Roane8414
Carroll83217
McNairy81016
Cheatham79010
White7849
Rhea78111
Hawkins77016
Cocke7349
Marshall7175
Overton6805
Smith67810
Johnson6482
Henry6029
Chester5919
Lincoln5791
Giles56817
DeKalb54611
Hickman5385
Crockett51319
Marion5007
Decatur4786
Fentress4363
Claiborne4304
Campbell4193
Polk37811
Grainger3503
Union3371
Benton3329
Jackson3055
Morgan3053
Unicoi2801
Cannon2760
Grundy2495
Humphreys2323
Sequatchie2233
Meigs2213
Clay2105
Scott2002
Houston1860
Lewis1771
Stewart1752
Moore1541
Van Buren1530
Perry1460
Hancock1063
Pickett982

Community Events