The Missouri Attorney General’s office has filed a lawsuit against a popular business and recreational lake in southeast Missouri known as “The Offsets.” The lawsuit says the facility has been the site of at least nine deaths and numerous serious injuries.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Madison County Circuit Court in Fredericktown, which is south of Farmington.
The Offsets owners did not return a Tuesday phone call from Missourinet, seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) tells Missourinet the lawsuit aims to force the owners to remedy what he describes as deadly conditions at the former quarry, near Fredericktown.
“There have been nine individuals who have died and others who have suffered very serious bodily injury over a period of years because the conditions at this facility are quite dangerous,” Hawley says.
He describes the Offsets as a “serious danger to the public, as evidenced by the repeated tragedies that have occurred at this commercial location.”
“And what the common fact pattern here is that they jump from this very high point, they injure themselves upon entry into the water and then they are not able to swim because there’s no dock,” says Hawley.
Hawley says the quarry is surrounded by 40-foot bluffs, where people jump into a lake.
He says the owners have not retained a lifeguard, adding that the steep bluffs make it difficult to exit the water.
He’s calling on the owners to fence off the quarry’s highest bluffs and to place a dock on the water.
Hawley notes two people have died there since the Fourth of July.
The “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” reports 19-year-old Cole Duffell of Chesterfield died on the Fourth of July after jumping off a cliff into the lake. The newspaper says 21-year-old Safion Livingston of St. Louis drowned there on July 13.
Hawley says all nine people who have died at the quarry/lake were healthy males between the ages of 16 and 21.
Hawley is asking a Madison County judge to shut the facility down, until steps are taken to remedy the conditions.
“Well under our authority in state law we have the ability to shut down public nuisances if they are not corrected, if they are not remedied and that’s what we’ve asked the court for here,” Hawley says.
Hawley also says the owners have not placed life-saving equipment near the bluffs.
Cape Girardeau television station KFVS-TV reports “The Offsets” also offers camping, swimming and scuba diving.
The station aired file video on its Monday newscasts, showing people jumping from the tall bluffs into the lake below.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), which was recorded on July 31, 2018:
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