The man charged with two counts of first degree manslaughter in a Grand Lake boating accident that killed two people in May pleaded not guilty on December 13. The accused man was allegedly the operator of the boat that collided into an empty 96-foot houseboat on Grand Lake near Arrowhead Yacht Club. The accident killed two of the eight passengers on the boat. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
A blood alcohol test done after the accident showed the operator’s blood alcohol level to be at .18, more than twice the legal limit of .08. According to reports from the time of the accident, the accused boat operator told investigators that he had consumed 10 beers, a shot of tequila and an antidepressant before the fatal collision. An officer with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Police described the accident with the houseboat as a “substantial violent impact.”
According to the GRDA preliminary investigation reports, excessive speed, alcohol and operator inattention were contributing factors in the accident.
Drunken boating accidents cause a large majority of fatal boating accidents, and despite how dangerous drinking while operating a vessel is, it is difficult for state authorities and Coast Guards to enforce the law. Thousands of injuries are caused every year due to drunken boating. Tragically, many of these victims also die from injuries sustained due to negligent boat operators.
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