Boater Held On Alcohol Charge After Crash Kills Two
CLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP/WWJ) — Southeastern Michigan authorities have arrested a 32-year-old man they say was intoxicated when he crashed his speedboat into a cabin cruiser, killing two people and injuring three others aboard the second vessel.
It happened about 6:45 p.m. Sunday off Harsens Island in Lake St. Clair. It’s part of Clay Township, about 30 miles northeast of Detroit.
The St. Clair County sheriff’s department identifies the dead passengers as 57-year-old Robert Koontz of Macomb County’s Chesterfield Township and 68-year-old Nancy Axford of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The department says in a statement that three others on the cabin cruiser were hospitalized. No one in the speedboat was hurt.
Sheriff Tim Donnellon told WWJ’s Zahra Huber it serves as a lesson. “Be careful of your surroundings, all the other boat traffic, and, please, if you’re drinking have a designated driver, no different than an automobile,” Donnellon said.
The Chesterfield Township man faces arraignment in Marine City District Court.
The U.S. Coast Guard said six people were on a boat that was hit by another boat around 6:45 p.m. in the south channel near Harsens Island.
“If you’re operating, you’re responsible,” Donnellon said.
Harsens Island is in Lake St. Clair at south end of the St. Clair River, 50 miles northeast of Detroit.
The St Clair County Sheriff’s Department says the Coast Guard got a May Day call from a Good Samaritan who witnessed the collision.
Boaters who saw the accident helped in the rescue. Freighters which usually use the south channel were stopped for a period of time while the accident was investigated.