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Man sued for causing boat collision while drunk

While the following story did not occur here in Rhode Island, it serves as an important reminder to people who enjoy going out on the lake with their boat -- and maybe enjoying a drink or two during the ride. And that reminder is this: don't do it.

A husband and wife are suing a man who hit their boat with his boat last year while he was intoxicated. The man at fault had a 36-foot speedboat while the married couple was in a 17-foot boat that was part of a pack of fishing boats. The collision occurred on Lake Michigan, and it left the wife with a head injury and the man with multiple minor injuries. However, their harm has lingered for a year, and now the married couple is suing the man for boating while intoxicated.

The man is still dealing with the legal penalties stemming from the accident. He lost his boating privileges for two years and is currently on his 18-month probation sentence (which includes a no-alcohol clause). He also had to perform 75 hours of community service. The lawsuit filed by the married couple will cause this man further torment.

First and foremost, as this story shows, you should never operate a boat when you have been consuming alcohol. It is a bad idea, and it puts your life and the lives of others out on the water at risk. Just avoid this behavior.

However, even though we don't approve of such behavior, the people who are accused of boating while intoxicated can have their lives ruined by such a charge. They deserve a fair trial and they deserve to have their case properly defended so that the damage of the charge can, hopefully, be minimized.

Source: Grand Haven Tribune, "Drunk boater faces lawsuit," Becky Vargo, Oct. 20, 2014

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