A boat accident on the Lake of Ozarks in Illinois' neighboring state of Missouri claimed the lives of three adults and resulted in the injuries of two others on Saturday, May 16. Now, the 22-year-old who was operating the boat at the time it crashed is facing negligent operation of a water vessel and criminal boating while intoxicated (BWI) charges.
The defendant was allegedly operating a 1991 Regal Runabout boat shortly before 1:45 a.m., that Saturday when for some unknown reason, he collided with the rock bluff located in the Camden County channel. The impact of the crash caused two of the deceased boaters to be ejected from the boat near Simmons Point.
Soon thereafter, witnesses reported seeing the defendant climbing back aboard his boat. They then saw him paddle an estimated half mile to a dock on the other side of the channel. A neighbor who heard the crash happen summoned patrol officers to the scene.
When they arrived at the crash scene, they found one of dead boaters inside of the vessel. They soon thereafter turned their attention to another passenger who was suffering from serious injuries. He was whisked away to Springfield's Mercy Hospital by helicopter. As for the defendant, he suffered the most minor of injuries. He was treated at the Lake Regional Hospital, located in Osage Beach.
It wasn't until the light came up that troopers with the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F were able to locate the other two boaters. One was found at 8:30 a.m. Divers searching the channel floor were able to locate the third deceased victim right around 11:15 a.m.
All of the victims were in their early 20s.
A representative with Troop F notes that there's no preliminary evidence that suggests that any of the boaters were wearing life jackets at the time of the incident.
Officials say that this incident marks perhaps the deadliest boat crash in more than 20 years.
It's unclear when the next hearing is in this case or whether the defendant has been released on bond.
If you've lost a loved one in a boat crash at the hands of a drunk, drugged or distracted boater, then a Glen Carbon, Illinois, attorney can advise you of the benefits associated with filing a wrongful death case.
Source: The Kansas City Star, "Overland Park man arrested in Lake of the Ozarks boat crash that killed his 3 friends," Laura Bauer and Katy Bergen, May 20, 2018