PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The widow of an Eastern Oregon elk hunter has filed a $960,000 lawsuit against the man’s hunting partner following an accidental shooting.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday that Vicki VanCleave, George VanCleave’s widow, filed the lawsuit against Richard Toubeaux in Baker County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit says 76-year-old George VanCleave died Feb. 19 after Toubeaux checked to see if his rifle was loaded and it fired, the bullet striking and killing VanCleave.
The Baker County sheriff’s office investigated the shooting involving the two Baker City men that occurred about 50 miles southwest of Baker City and decided not to pursue charges after determining it was an accident.
The two men were planning to go to dinner when Toubeaux set down his .300 Weatherby Magnum rifle on an open rifle case in the back seat of his Ford F-350 pickup, according to the lawsuit.
After VanCleave asked if the rifle was unloaded, Toubeaux walked over to the rear driver’s side door, picked it up to check and the rifle fired, the suit says. The barrel was pointed at the rear passenger side of the truck, where VanCleave was standing as he packed up his equipment, the suit says.
VanCleave died at the scene.
The suit faults Toubeaux for allegedly failing to engage his safety and allegedly failing to unload his rifle before placing it in the truck.
Toubeaux didn’t return a message left by The Oregonian/OregonLive.
AP Only 2019