Boat driver’s alleged repeat DWI offense kills 4

According to a Minnesota report, it was supposed to be a happy pre-wedding party celebration. It certainly seemed to be an uplifting, festive idea: a deck-boat ride for the groom-to-be and some of his wedding guests on a summer night on Wisconsin’s Chippewa River. Unfortunately, last Friday’s celebration was cut short due to a sudden head-on collision with a speedboat that was traveling too fast that night. The deck boat was speeding too, it was later revealed.

Upon investigation, authorities found that both boat drivers had consumed unknown quantities of alcohol some time before the accident. Boating while intoxicated is suspected to have caused the crash. The speedboat driver, who lost his life in the crash, was earlier observed in a bar drinking with his passenger, who was injured in the suspected DWI accident. In all, four deaths resulted from the wreck.

More information was later revealed about the speedboat driver. He reportedly has various prior DWIs on his record, in addition to other dropped or dismissed drunk driving charges. Just like in Minnesota, the legal BAC limit in Wisconsin is 0.08. With repeat offenses, consequences become harsher.

Alcohol obviously can impair a boater’s vision and response time on the water. And during these summer months, drunken boating puts lots of lives and futures of intoxicated boaters at risk. At night, the danger easily increases, and authorities vigilantly look for intoxicated boaters. It is most likely that one or both boat drivers did not see each other at all in this case until it was too late.

It is not yet known if the driver of the deck boat will be cited for drunk driving charges. Authorities continue to investigate the fatal incident.


Star Tribune: “Speedboat driver in crash that killed 4 had 7 convictions,” Pat Pheifer and Daarel Burnette, 25 Jul. 2011

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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