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Randy Appleton
Randy Appleton
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Allegedly Drunk Boater to Face Trial in Indiana

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A 20-year-old woman in Fort Wayne, Indiana who allegedly was drunk when she drove a boat that spun out of control on Lake Gage in July, will face a criminal trial in 2018.

Dominique M. Effinger, 20, will be in court from May 21-25, 2018 for the July 15 boating accident in Steuben County, Indiana where the police reported that she lost control of her boat. Ten people were thrown overboard and two of them suffered serious personal injuries. 

The woman has been charged with felony operating a motorboat while intoxicated resulting in serious bodily injury, operating a motorboat with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least .08 percent resulting in serious bodily injury, operating a motorboat while intoxicated, operating a motorboat with an alcohol concentration at least .08 percent and minor consuming alcohol.

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According to police reports, at 7:15 pm on July 15, the 21-foot boat that Effinger was operating made a sudden, violent turn that threw its passengers into the lake, including the operator. The boat, unmanned at that point, was circling in the water at 30 MPH until it was slowed and stopped by a police officer.

Two passengers were airlifted to a local hospital. One of them had a skull fracture, and another had to have part of her arm amputated. Several other passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Our View

Our Virginia personal injury attorneys are glad that no one was killed in this serious drunk boating accident. Nevertheless, several people suffered serious injuries and may never be the same.

Alcohol is involved in 31% of all boating fatalities, which is an increase of 5% from 1999. According to a Coast Guard study, boat operators with a blood alcohol level above .08 are 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than sober boat operators.

Drinking and boating is every bit as dangerous as drinking and driving. If you want to enjoy your time on the water, boaters should just use some common sense. If you are going to be drinking while in a boat, it is essential to designate a pilot for the day who will not be drinking alcohol. It is better to have no alcohol in the boat at all, but at the very least, make sure that the boat operator is 100% sober.

Those who suffered personal injuries in this drunk boating accident should note that they may be eligible for compensation for their injuries. A skull fracture and an amputated arm are serious injuries that can affect one’s ability to work and enjoy life. The injured could be entitled to a personal injury settlement for their pain and suffering, medical costs, and loss of income now and in the future.