Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue’s son was neither impaired nor negligent when a boat he was driving crashed into another boat in 2003, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
Emmett Perdue, who was 22 at the time of the accident, and his brother, Garrett, were involved in lawsuits with the owners of the other boat, Phillip and Peggy Amerson. Each family accused the other of negligence in the June 28, 2003, accident on the Trent River.
Chief U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt ruled Thursday that Phillip Amerson was negligent because his boat was not lit properly when he was struck.
Britt said both the Amersons and the Perdues had been drinking on their boats.
Emmett Perdue acknowledged that he had several drinks before the accident, but said he couldn't avoid hitting the Amerson’s boat. He testified that he drank three beers and a shot of liquor at a hotel before heading home up the river with his brother and eight other people aboard their 19-foot boat.
He said the Amerson’s 18-foot boat was drifting without lights, and it was too late to avoid hitting it by the time he saw it.