HARRISON TWP. (WWJ/AP) – A 55-year-old Troy man who had been drinking while operating a boat that a Southfield fire chief jumped from before drowning is appearing in court for his sentence.

William Jeffrey Jr. of Troy will hear his sentence Tuesday after earlier pleading guilty to misdemeanor operating a vessel while intoxicated.

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Southfield Fire Chief Keith Rowley had been boating with Jeffrey and two women on July 31 when he jumped from the 40-foot vessel into Lake St. Clair off Harrison Township to retrieve Jeffrey’s hat. Rowley, who wasn’t wearing a lift jacket, disappeared under the water. His body was found three days later.

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Jeffrey was arrested at the scene.

Keith Rowley (photo credit: City of Southfield)

Keith Rowley (photo credit: City of Southfield)

“Jeffrey will likely get probation because it is a first offense, he’s got no criminal record, and he didn’t cause the chief’s death,” said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton.

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