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Alcohol involved in fatal boating accident

A Wisconsin man was killed in a boat crash involving an allegedly intoxicated boat operator. The man who was operating the boat received multiple charges, including homicide by negligent use of a vehicle. After the fatal crash, the boat operator was said to have had a blood-alcohol level of .114 percent. According to reports, the three men on the boat were engaged in a trip that they took on a weekly basis.

The fatal accident happened while the victim was traveling in a 40-foot Formula 400 boat at approximately 35 mph. When the boat operator had left an electronic system in charge of steering the boat, it apparently malfunctioned and resulted in the crash. The boat operator claims that when one of the men noticed a rock cliff in front of them, there was no time for him to correct the direction of the vessel.

According to the boat operator, the electronic system that he left in charge of his boat was known to have technical problems. While he left the system on, he admitted that he was in a position where he was unable to see past the front of his boat. The surviving victim from the crash has also told investigators that he had voiced worries that he had about the direction of the boat prior to the fatal crash.

The family members of the deceased boater may choose to file a wrongful death claim against the boat operator. Witness testimony and police reports may be used in order to establish the liability of the boat operator in the victim's death. A criminal conviction may strengthen the civil claim.

Source: TwinCities.com, "Bayport man faces homicide charges in fatal St. Croix River boat crash", Andy Rathbun, October 31, 2013

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