McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

October 24, 2013

July 4th widow waits for justice

McALESTER — The wife of man who died after a July 4 hit-and-run boating accident on Lake Eufaula said she wants justice for her family.

Linda McIninch’s husband, Gary McIninch, was found dead two days after he disappeared into Lake Eufaula after watching holiday fireworks on the lake. He was ejected from a pontoon boat that was hit by a 20-foot ski boat allegedly piloted by Ryan Shumway, of McAlester. 

No arrests have been made in the case, but Shumway was identified in an accident report filed by the Oklahoma Lake Patrol.

Four days after the accident, Shumway came forward to investigators  through his attorney and made himself and his boat available for the investigation, according to District 25 District Attorney Rob Barris.

Whether charges will be filed in the case hinges on a medical examiner’s report, according to Barris. He said he needs the report to determine how Gary McIninch died.

On Tuesday, the Chief Medical Examiner’s office confirmed that a report on McIninch’s death is not yet complete.

Several witnesses reported to police they watched as the boat that hit the pontoon circled around and then left the scene. A boat driven by an off-duty police officer stopped to help while several other boats drove past the scene, according to the report.

Two of McIninch’s granddaughters were hospitalized after the accident, according to Linda McIninch and the patrol report. Six-year-old Tori suffered a head injury and 7-seven-year-old Briana had a broken leg, Linda McIninch said. Both children were flown by medical aircraft to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and were later released.

Linda McIninch said she’s still grieving for her husband. He would have been 56 today.

“He gave his life to save his grandkids and he was a loving husband, father and grandfather,” she said.

“He was an amazing man who would give his shirt off his back for anyone in need. 

“He loved the outdoors and would go hunting, fishing, boating, whatever he could to be outdoors. 

“He was a hard worker and friend and was loved and admired by everyone that knew him.”

She said the loss is magnified by a lack of arrests in the case.

“I want the person responsible for my husband’s death to be charged,” she told the News-Capital.

A phone number for Shumway has been disconnected. On Wednesday, his attorney Warren Gotcher said the case is still under investigation and he had no comment.

On the night of the accident, Shumway was allegedly piloting a 1999 Crownline ski boat with no lights and three passengers when it hit the pontoon boat, according to an accident report. The pontoon boat had been anchored to another boat at the time.

The report states Shumway told police he was traveling at about 30 mph when he hit the vessel.

Witnesses report Shumway was traveling closer to 40 mph, according to the report.

The investigating trooper also stated in the report that “he believes that alcohol also played a factor but cannot conclude due to the fact that Shumway left the scene and did not come forward until four days later.”

Linda McIninch described the accident in the report.

“I was on the ladder on the ski boat climbing in when I heard everyone screaming,” she told police. “I heard a boat hit the metal on the pontoon and then I heard the boat go over my head. I tried to find my husband and to see if everyone was okay.”

Another passenger of the group was in the water next to the boats.

The group had just finished watching the finale of a fireworks display over the lake, according to the report, when witnesses said they heard screaming. Some witnesses reported screaming at the driver of the boat coming at them, the report states.

The boat crashed into the pontoon boat, sending Gary McIninch overboard into the lake, according to the report.

Another witness reported screaming for the boat to stop and trying to make sure his children were safe.

“We see the boat coming at us and everybody started screaming at them trying to get them stopped,” Kenneth Noak stated in the report. “The boat came over the front of the pontoon and over the top of the ski boat ... I was so frantic trying to make sure my kids were okay....”

After hitting the pontoon, which had been carrying 10 people — including five children — the ski boat landed atop the nearby Stingray boat with four people on board.

The driver of the pontoon, Ronald Roberts, reported he had been sitting in the driver’s seat when he looked over the windshield and saw the boat coming straight at them.

“I yelled at everybody to look out, ‘He’s going to hit us,’” he said in a written statement included in the accident report. “I saw the boat hit our boat. His boat shoved our bow up.

“It was pitch dark (...) the boat was going so fast that its momentum shot the other boat over our boat.”

Roberts said as soon as the boat cleared the pontoon, it came down on the other boat tied to the pontoon, according to the report.

Another witness, Victoria Essary, also reported seeing the boat hit and then screaming for her son.

“(The) boat slammed into the boat my son was on and flew over the top of the boat I was in (...) I was thrown in the water and started screaming for my son Maddox.

“By then we realized Gary (McIninch) was missing and we started screaming his name ... I checked over both injured girls and stayed with them until they were mediflighted to OU, ” Essary said in the report.

Meanwhile, Linda McIninch said her two granddaughters are recovering.

“The grandkids are recovering as well as can be expected,” she said. “Tori has made a full recovery from her injuries and is back to a normal 6-year-old. Briana finished her rehabilitation for her broken femur last week but will still need surgery in December to remove the rods from her leg.” 

A medical trust fund for the victims of the accident has been set up at First Fidelity Bank in the name of the Gary McIninch Tragedy Trust Fund, Linda McIninch said.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • 4 20 HolyWeekSun 1.jpg Edwards: Spread the Good News on Easter — and every day

    It starts with us.
    McAlester Attorney Tony Edwards, of Lakewood Christian Church, delivered that message to well over 100 men and boys who attended the last of the Men’s Holy Week Breakfasts served Saturday morning at the First Baptist Church in McAlester.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Rogers, Webber, ready for hearing on Webber's candidacy for District 1

    Former District 1 Pittsburg County Commissioner Bill Webber says he plans to be at the Pittsburg County Courthouse this week for a hearing to decide if he can run again for his former post.

    April 19, 2014

  • Council to consider city water plant's future: Karr to take Ward 4 seat

    City councilors are set to again consider letting a privately-owned company take over the operations of the McAlester Water Treatment Plant.
    It’s among the items on the agenda when the city council meets in regular session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

    April 19, 2014

  • Powers: Good Friday, then and now

    Chris Powers, of First United Methodist Church, spoke Friday about the meaning of Good Friday —what it meant to the people of Jesus’ day, and what it means to believers today.

    April 19, 2014

  • mc-safety2.jpg OHP slates free motorcycle safety course

    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will be back in McAlester to give a free motorcycle safety course on April 26.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • equality-mcdaniel.jpg Couple seeks to help homosexual community in McAlester

    A McAlester woman says she and her spouse are working to bring equality to McAlester.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Look what's going on downtown McAlester tonight

    Tonight, area residents are invited to join other community members in front of the old Hunts building at the northwest corner of Choctaw Avenue and Second Street in downtown McAlester to listen and to play music in an open street jam, karaoke, cruise-in and to enjoy one of McAlester's two downtown districts. Set-up starts at 6 p.m., jam will be underway by 7 p.m. and at approximately 8 p.m. karaoke all the while cars cruise in. Everyone should feel free to bring lawn chairs and grills, instruments and music equipment, or classic, modified, modern -- all -- show cars. There are no contests or prizes planned, just community fellowship. 

    April 18, 2014

  • Police Badge MCC.jpg Detective's Dispatch: Buckle up

    It only takes a few seconds to put your seat belt on. These few seconds could change the rest of your life!

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • KTC Proclamation McAlester KTC students compete in state FCCLA contest

    Kiamichi Technology Center, McAlester Campus, recently participated in the 2014 Oklahoma State Students Taking Action with Recognition Events for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18-BREAKFAST1.jpg Lackey: Challenge of today's church is to empower Christ

    Christians everywhere make up the Body of Christ.
    Tom Lackey, of the First Presbyterian Church, delivered that message to the fourth gathering of those participating in the Men’s Holy Week Breakfasts.
    Lackey spoke to a group estimated at more than 100 men and boys at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in McAlester on Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.