Ogden • Vaughn Anderson held a cellphone in one hand and Esther Fujimoto's dying body in another.
Anderson has lived near Pineview Reservoir's shores for most of his life, and the sound of motorboats has become "background noise" he barely notices. But on the evening of Aug. 21, 2011, screams, at least three of them, caught his attention.
He ran to a knoll overlooking the water and saw three men in a boat. Twice, Anderson said, he heard the men say, "Hey, lady, are you OK?" And when the boat left, heading west toward the setting sun, he saw someone bobbing in the water.
Anderson rowed out to the woman, some 300 feet off the shoreline, and called police to report she had been horribly injured.
As the Huntsville man's gut-wrenching 911 call filled a 2nd District courtroom on Thursday, Fujimoto's family listened with their eyes fixed on the floor.
When the preliminary hearing ended, Judge Ernie Jones ordered Colton Raines, 22, Robert Cole Boyer, 30, and Skyler Shepherd, 22 the three men who were in the boat that hit Fujimoto to stand trial on charges related to the 49-year-old cancer researcher's death.
"I certainly don't get a sister back in this process," Andy Fujimoto, who wore a "Justice for Esther" pin on the lapel of his blue jacket, told reporters. "I can understand an accident, but disregard for human life, that I have issue with."
Fujimoto often swam in the area, said Anderson, whose home is a few hundred feet from the shore. The previous summer, Anderson and his boy paddled near her and she hung onto the side of their canoe and they talked about fish.
Anderson took a photograph of her that day.
The night of the accident, Anderson was six feet away when he saw the woman's wounds.
"I can't pull her in the boat," a panicked Anderson told an emergency dispatcher. "She's cut bad."
As the call went on, Anderson grew increasingly frantic.
"I don't know what to do," he cried.
He begged the woman to stay with him; he asked her for her name. He watched as patrol cars zoomed past and pleaded with the dispatcher to tell them to turn down his street.
"They went past again!" he yelled.
He cried and cursed as the wind and swells, some a foot tall with whitecaps, pushed him and his boat and Esther Fujimoto around the Spring Creek inlet.
Shepherd, Raines and Boyer had spent Aug. 21 wakeboarding with friends and later hanging out at a place they called "Party Cove." Those who were with them told investigators there was a cooler filled with cans of beer, whipped cream flavored vodka and spiced rum, according to testimony Thursday. Raines and Boyer allegedly smoked marijuana, though none of the men tested positive for the drug roughly 10 days later.
At the end of the day, one group of friends left the cove in their boat and headed back to the pullout. But Raines wanted to make "one more run" through another part of the lake, Weber County sheriff's detective Don Kelly testified.
As Raines steered the boat for a loop through the Spring Creek inlet, he swerved abruptly and stopped. "Did you see that?" the man reportedly asked.
With Raines too shaken to drive, Shepherd took the wheel and circled the boat back toward Fujimoto to ask if she was all right. In an interview, Shepherd told Kelly that Fujimito said, "Yeah," and then grunted. The men said they thought she was angry with them for coming so close to her, according to testimony.
Chief Medical Examiner Todd Grey doubted the story.
Fujimito had severe injuries to her lower abdomen. Her legs were "chopped to pieces," her femoral artery had been cut and she was bleeding to death.
"I think these would be horribly painful injuries," Grey testified.
The three men left Fujimoto, drove to the pullout, loaded the boat on a trailer and wiped it down, leading to misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges. Defense attorney Rebecca Hyde Skordas, who represents Boyer, argued it was common practice to wipe down a boat; the other boaters in the group had done the same thing.
As the men tried to leave the reservoir, police had barricaded the area, looking for the hit-and-run boaters. Shepherd, who turned himself in to police a few days later, told Kelly he said nothing at the time because they were afraid.
"They were afraid so they didn't say anything," Kelly said. "They were fearful something happened."
After Fujimoto's death, the Utah Legislature amended the law to require boaters to stop if they have "reason to believe" they could have been in an accident, and allowing prosecutors to file felony charges in fatal situations.
Raines and Shepherd face class B misdemeanors for failing to provide assistance after a boating accident and class A misdemeanor for allegedly engaging in "conduct that created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury."
Defense attorneys argued endangerment charges were inappropriate. Fujimoto was not in one of the reservoir's two designated swimming areas, and the men did nothing wrong leading up to the crash.
The state is "sort of trying to recreate the facts here," Greg Skordas, representing Raines, told the judge, "because she was hit, therefore somebody must have done something wrong."
Weber County prosecutor Dean Saunders said the men had a "duty" to stop and help Fujimoto. Saunders said the charges against the men are not about the crash, but about what happened after.
"By leaving her there in the water, they sealed her fate," he said.
It took Anderson about five minutes to reach Fujimoto precious moments that could have maybe saved her life, Saunders said.
But if they had stayed, would it have been enough?
A tourniquet might have helped save her, the medical examiner said, but more likely someone would have needed to clamp down on an artery in the wound to slow the bleeding, Grey testified. Maybe with a pair of pliers.
But even in an emergency room, it would have been difficult, he said.
"There is nothing these boys could have done to save her life," Shepherd's defense attorney Glen Neeley said.