CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) – A former Citadel cadet claims the gross negligence of a deer hunter and the farm that let him hunt there led to his shooting and severe injuries that ended his dreams of being a Navy officer.
William A. Callegari III says that he and two fellow Citadel cadets were duck hunting during the late afternoon of Dec. 14, 2009 when he was shot repeatedly by Danny Wade Rowsey, who was hunting deer from a dilapidated blind nearby.
The wounds to Callegari’s arm, chest and torso, “irreversibly debilitated his upper extremity, permanently halted his plans to join the Navy, and adversely affected his entire life,” Callegari claims in Charleston County Court.
Callegari says he ventured onto the property owned by co-defendant Low Country Produce of Charleston, at the invitation of cadet Paul Jackson, whose family had a longstanding relationship with the property’s caretaker.
Because of that relationship, Jackson and his friends and family members had “permission to freely enter, use, and hunt the property,” according to the complaint.
“Based upon this permissive grant, the Jackson children were generally accustomed to entering and using the property to visit the caretaker and for their own, recreational purposes ay any time they so desired,” Callegari says.
“They were not aware, however, that any other hunters had been granted permission to recreationally use the property,” and he says there were no “‘no hunting’ or ‘no trespassing’ signs along the property lines adjacent to the Jackson’s backyard.”
Callegari says he and his friends were by a pond and he had just fired two shots at waterfowl when he was struck by a volley of shots that Rowsey fired from a .308 caliber bolt-action rifle.
Callegari was taken to the Medical University Hospital of South Carolina in Charleston. Rowsey, who said he mistook Callegari for game, “was criminally charged with assault and battery with intent to kill. Though the charges have been reduced to criminal negligence, the criminal case against defendant Rowsey is still pending,” Callegari says in his complaint.
Callegari seeks costs of medical treatment and compensatory and punitive damages, for negligence, gross negligence, negligent supervision, premises liability, assault and battery and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
He is represented by Kevin Dean with the Motley Rice law firm of Mount Pleasant.