A Palm Beach County jury has found a Deerfield Beach man guilty of a BUI (boating under the influence) manslaughter charge and vessel homicide in a 2010 fatal boating accident that claimed the life of a 31-year-old Boynton Beach man.
According to the Assistant State Attorney who prosecuted the case, the man driving the boat had been drinking at the Tavern Eros in Delray Beach when he invited a brother and sister on a late-night speedboat joyride with him.
“It was a horrible, reckless decision” for the man to operate the boat, the prosecutor told The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The prosecutor said that the man took the siblings out in the boat at 2 a.m. under “pitch black” skies and never activated the Donzi speedboat’s GPS or radar. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigator testified that the boat was going some 30 mph in a section of the Intracoastal Waterway where boats are supposed to be “fully settled in the water” when it struck a metal channel marker.
The impact ejected the brother, slamming him into the marker. He was found dead in the water an hour after the crash. The medical examiner’s report said the man died of blunt force trauma and drowning. According to investigators, the boat operator had admitted to drinking and he had a blood alcohol level of 0.132 and 0.137 – 0.08 is the legal limit for intoxication in Florida.
In June, the boat driver agreed to pay $948,000 to the estate of the man killed in the accident. During the criminal trial, the prosecutor told the court, “He didn’t deserve to die that night. He was simply a passenger on a boat.”
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or carelessness of a boat or watercraft operator, attorney Charlie E. Farah and the legal team at Farah & Farah stand ready to help your family fight for the justice they deserve. We’re at (800) 533-3555. Our vow is to provide your family thorough and compassionate legal representation.