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Fatal Boating Accident On Lake Washington Leads To Wrongful-Death Lawsuit

33-year-old Seattle middle-school teacher Melissa Protz was killing in a boating accident on Lake Washington that occurred Wednesday, July 16th, 2014. The man responsible was 46-year-old former University of Washington football player and real-estate agent Richard Hicks. Around 10:00 p.m. is when the accident took place on Lake Washington, Melissa one of four passengers on a 22 1/2 foot slow propelled sailboat operated by Shreedham Madhavapeddi when a powerboat operated by Richard smashed into the vessel.  Melissa suffered blunt force trauma to the head and torso that cause severe internal bleeding.

Unfortunately, the injuries were far too severe, and Melissa died at the scene of the accident. Richard was arrested and charged with homicide by watercraft and assault by watercraft. Shreedham and another female passenger also sustained severe injuries accident, varying from a broken neck to deep lacerations.  Richard Hicks stayed in Kings County Jail before posting $250,000 bail.

Melissa’s parents have now filed a wrongful-death complaint in King County Superior Court Friday morning.  According to the complaint, their daughter Melissa Protz died a brutal death because of Hicks recklessness, negligence, and carelessness.  The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, also to damages for Protz’s pre-death pain and suffering and the parents’ loss of consortium, love, and affection.

Seattle Police stated that upon being arrested there was a strong scent of alcohol on his breath, as well as bloodshot eyes and slurred talk.  This was not Hicks first run-in with the law.  In 2002, he was arrested for investigation of DUI and reckless driving.