Sadly, a Boston attorney was recently charged with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol following a boating accident that resulted in a young woman losing her arm.
According to Boston.com, Benjamin Urbelis, 33, has been charged with “operating a boat while under the influence causing serious bodily injury, negligent operation of a boat and operating a motorboat without a legally required identification number.”
The website reported that the lawyer was arraigned recently on the charges while he was still wearing his swim trunks. Urbelis was allegedly operating the 29-foot boat Naut Guilty on May 30 when a woman, identified as Nicole Berthiaume, 19, fell overboard, catching her arm in the vessel’s propeller.
Urbelis reportedly represents clients who have been charged with operating under the influence through his law firm. There were 13 people aboard the vessel when the amputation incident took place. Following the incident, Urbelis allegedly refused to cooperate with investigators. The U.S. Coast Guard reportedly described him as “drunk and belligerent.”
Rescue workers were unable to recover Berthiaume’s arm, and she was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for injury treatment. “Just pray for her,” Mary DePasquale, Nicole’s grandmother told the Boston Herald. “She needs our prayers and she needs our support. That’s where we are right now.”
Berthiaume attends Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, the newspaper reported.
Drunk Boating Accidents Can Be Serious
Recently, we discussed how drunk boating accidents can be deadly and result in catastrophic injuries, as more people are expected to take their personal watercrafts out as the weather warms up. Unfortunately, alcohol use is a factor in almost a third of all recreational boating fatalities in the U.S., according to the Coast Guard.
As this case shows, if you operate a boat while you are allegedly intoxicated, you can face significant criminal charges. This is especially true if you are involved in an accident that results in deaths or injuries.
With this in mind, if you have been injured or had a loved one killed due to a drunken boater’s reckless actions, you may have certain legal rights allowing you to hold him or her accountable. It is very important for the proper investigation to occur, evidence is preserved and witnesses are interviewed in order to preserve the injured party’s legal rights. In the video above, maritime attorney Carolyn Latti explains what you should do if you are injured in a boating accident.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Nationwide Maritime Attorneys