Quite often drunk driving is thought of as being a crime that only occurs on the roadways. North Carolina residents know better since every summer at least one drunk driving accident on the water will lead to senseless boating deaths. This was sadly the case on the weekend of May 31, when two boaters died in what is suspected to be an incidence of drinking and boating.
North Carolina officials report that three friends were operating an 18-foot speedboat in a county river when the crash occurred. By the time first responders arrived the boat was wrecked in four pieces on the shore and two of the three men aboard were pronounced dead at the scene. The third man was airlifted to hospital with injuries described as very severe.
Little is known about the specifics of the crash. Officers are surprised the boat didn’t run aground before the crash considering the shallow water the boat was traveling through. They estimate the boat must have been traveling at very high speeds to make it so far. Officers also believe that alcohol was a factor in the crash, though they are not yet sure which of the three men was driving the boat.
Being a passenger in a vehicle operated by someone under the influence of alcohol is not a crime. In a drunk driving accident, the individual upon whom that responsibility falls is strictly the driver. In this case, should it be proven the driver of this boat was responsible for the crash, the surviving family members, and possibly the survivor of the crash if he was not also the driver, will be entitled under North Carolina law to seek wrongful death lawsuits against the driver or his estate.
Source: wavy.com, “Boaters killed in NC crash identified,” Catherine Rogers, Jason Marks, Anne McNamara and Lauren Compton, June 1, 2013