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Day 5: Testimony continues in Fox River boat crash trial

Jason Lindemann trial
Posted at 9:07 AM, Jun 14, 2024

Testimony continues on the fifth day of the trial of Jason Lindemann.

Lindemann is charged with more than a dozen counts, including two felony charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety.

Prosecutors claim he crashed his power boat into a paddle wheel boat on the Fox River in Oshkosh in July 2022, and then left the scene.

His defense has said the crash was an accident.

Watch live below:
(Viewer discretion advised — trial may contain strong language)


Live blog update 10:30 a.m.

Key testimony on day five of the Jason Lindemann trial at the Winnebago County Courthouse. Warden Paul Sickman, a GPS forensics expert with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), testified for nearly two hours on Friday.

Warden Sickman assisted with the GPS download from the defendant’s boat, Jason Lindemann’s 2020 Nor-Tech 450.

Warden Sickman used Garmin software to analyze the data from both Lindeman’s boat and the vessel that was stuck, the On The Loos paddle boat.

During his testimony, evidence of Warden Sickman’s analysis was shown to the courtroom. The images depicted rudimentary maps overlaid on Google Earth on the day of the boat crash, July 9.

The GPS tracking began at 9:28 a.m.

Prosecutor: Were you able to tell what time the boat arrived at Stretches?

Warden Sickman: It shows the boat arrived at 1:49 in the afternoon. 

Prosecutor: Were you able to tell what time it left that location?

Warden Sickman: The data showed the boat left at 5:54 p.m.

Prosecutor: So, is it fair to say it stayed at that location for just over 4 hours?

Warden Sickman: Correct.

His testimony continued to show the Nor-Tech’s tracking into the Fox River where it docked into a slip at Dockside Tavern in Oshkosh and remained for nearly three hours and 45 minutes.

The prosecutor walked through the expert witness’ testimony through the direction and the speed boat was traveling up until the moment it collided with the On The Loos paddle boat.

The witness stated the Nor-Tech powerboat was traveling at 46 miles per hour at the time of impact with the On The Loos paddle boat. At this time, bridge surveillance video was shown to the courtroom of the crash at the same time the GPS analysis indicated the time of impact, approximately 10:00 p.m.

Prosecution: After the crash, what did this boat do?

Warden Sickmen: After the crash, you can see the boat made a left-hand turn and a loop... the boat continued to make the loop and continued down the Fox River.

The prosecution continue to present the data to the courtroom showing the direction and speed of the boat following the collision.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning the witness was cross-examined by the defense.

The defense attorney called into question the accuracy of the GPS Garmin data

Defense: Regarding the GPS data in this case, what is the tolerance range?

Warden Sickman: I don’t know what it is for the Garmin

(The tolerance range is plus or minus how many feet the GPS is accurate, according to the defense attorney's research)

Defense: But you don’t know?

Warden Sickman: It is extremely accurate.

The defense questioned how the boat’s speed is calculated on the GPS since it does not use a speedometer or radar.

Warden Sickman: The speed is calculated when you take one point from a GPS mark to another GPS mark.

Defense: That’s how the speed is calculated?

Warden Sickman: Yes. Time, speed, distance, yes.

 The defense also argued how the GPS was able to detect the speed of the boat when according to data and witnesses the boat was reportedly docked for a period of time.

 Defense: Now in your report you said after the collision, the Nor-Tech operator made a large counter-clockwise circle slowing down to 5 miles per hour or less. In the eye-witness testimony of the video show the boat stopped completely. That would be contrary to your data.

Warden Sickman: Potentially, yes.

Only the second person to take the stand before noon was Detective Ryan Hathaway of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

He retrieved surveillance video relevant to the investigation on the 9th of July 2022.

The video collected and shown in court on Friday was from Dockside Tavern from the hours of 6:30 pm to 9:48 pm. Jason Lindeman is the owner of the Dockside Tavern.

The defense had Detective Hathaway review the evidence he collected to which he said was relevant to the investigation. The video which showed Mr. Lindeman standing around the patio bar and walking through the restaurant for the duration of his stay.

At one point during the video, Detective Hathaway showed the court evidence of Mr. Lindeman walking through the restaurant toward the bathroom.

Prosecution: How would you characterize his gate or steadiness?

Detective Hathaway: He seems unsteady, unable to walk in a straight line.

At multiple times in the video clips shown to the courtroom, Jason Lindeman is seen carrying a cup around the patio bar area. It was described to the courtroom as dark in color with a white frothy top. The video clip shows the cup in different stages of full and empty throughout the 3 hours and 45 minutes at Dockside Tavern.

At some points in the video, Mr. Lindeman is standing behind the bar, dancing and according to Detective Hathaway’s testimony, Jason Lindeman tripped while walking across the screen.

During Detective Hathaway’s cross-examination by the defense, the attorney argued why only certain clips were shown to the courtroom, seemingly showing Mr. Lindeman as intoxicated when other points of the video not shown in court show Lindeman walking in a straight line, seemingly sober. The defense showed the courtroom several long clips of Jason Lindeman standing and walking, not appearing to exhibit signs of intoxication, according to the defense.

Defense: Do you find it relevant to show Jason walking perfectly fine?

Detective Hathaway: Signs of impairment, some of the things described in the report I found that are relevant to the investigation.

Defense: So signs of sobriety are not relevant to the investigation?

Detective Hathaway: I’m not going to go over signs of sobriety.

The defense attorney addresses the moment in the video where it appeared Jason Lindeman stumbled while walking in the video.

Defense: It looks like Jason might have tripped. Do you know if there are any mats or anything like that?

Hathaway: No.

The defense reviewed several points in the video where you can see Lindeman carrying a beverage around the patio bar and argued you cannot tell whether or not there is an alcoholic substance inside the cup and there are several moments in the video evidence showing Lindeman not carrying a cup at all or the cup’s level remains the same throughout the video.

Defense: At no point did you see Jason fall to the ground?
Hathaway: I did not.

Detective Hathaway: There was a time I saw him touch a waitress in the midsection. If I was a waitress, I would consider that inappropriate.

Defense: His daughter works there. Did you know his daughter works there?

Det. Hathaway: It was told to me, yes.


12:30 pm update

The state called a former bartender at Dockside Tavern to the stand, Melayna McDaniel. She was bartending the night of the crash.

McDaniel: He had a beer but that’s all. I remember. The group was drinking but I don’t remember what.

Video evidence shown to the courtroom show McDaniel serving Jason Lindeman and his group shots of Patron tequila.

Prosecution: During that time did he appear intoxicated to you?
McDaniel: Not really but other people were. Other people were more drunk than he was.

During McDaniel’s short time on the stand, she was cross-examined by the defense.

Defense: You didn’t see anything about Jason that led you to believe he was intoxicated?

McDaniel: Not that I recall, no.

Defense: Did he appear intoxicated?
McDaniel: No, not to me

The defense has yet to call any witnesses in this case. The court will be back in session at 8:30 Monday morning.

Read/watch NBC 26's previous coverage of the trial here.