Fatal Accident Following Desert Storm Poker Run

Single-boat crash of Lickity Split occurred 30 minutes after Shootout run.

Fatal Accident Following Desert Storm Poker Run
The accident occurred about an hour after the shootout.Desert Storm Poker Run and Shootout

Two people are dead and a third was in extremely critical condition after a boat crashed Saturday, April 21, following the Desert Storm Poker Run and Shootout at Lake Havasu. The two men, Brad Kloepfer, 57, and Paul Selberg, 69, died at Havasu Regional Medical Center. The 58-year-old woman, Connie David Kloepfer (wife of Brad Kloepfer), was listed in extremely critical condition and was later flown to a Phoenix hospital for treatment, according to the Havasu News-Herald.

All three are from Lake Havasu City and were wearing life jackets. Kloepfer was an officer for the Redlands, California, Police Department from 1984 until his retirement in 2006, said Carl Baker, spokesman for the city.

All three were aboard the DCB Performance Boats M35 Widebody Lickity Split boat owned by J.P. O'Donoghue. The boat crashed about 12:30 p.m. in the south basin of the lake, near the Contact Point Water Safety Center, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Arizona.

Fatal Accident Following Desert Storm Poker Run
Sheriff’s Office patrol boats took the three victims to the safety center.Desert Storm Poker Run and Shootout

According to a report in Speedonthewater.com, Kloepfer was running the boat south on the lake approximately 30 minutes after he finished his final run on the new 3/4-mile-long Desert Storm Poker Run Shootout when the incident occurred. His fastest speed of the day in the 35-foot catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines was 158 mph.

Several people from private boats that arrvied on the scene helped to pull the victims from the water and begin CPR on the men. Sheriff’s Office patrol boats took the three to the safety center, where Lake Havasu City Fire Department crews continued revival efforts.

Todd Taylor, who helps organize Desert Storm, said it was important to note the accident didn’t occur during an organized Desert Storm event. He said it occurred about an hour after the shootout.

“He loaded up his boat and went out for a joyride after the organized portion,” Taylor said.

Dan Herron, the safety coordinator for Desert Storm, said once word got out the group shut down the Shootout to send any available safety boats to assist the Sheriff’s Department with redirecting traffic away from the site.