BOAT WRECK KILLS FIVE
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2008
By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are continuing to collect information pertaining to the cause of a fatal boating accident along Blind River in St. John Parish that claimed the lives of five River Parishes men.
Bo Boehringer, press secretary for LDWF, said Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division personnel recovered the body of 22-year-old Stanley Borne Jr. of Reserve sometime around 7 a.m. Monday. Boehringer said Millet’s body was found about half a mile from where the accident took place, which is near where Blind River meets Alligator Bayou.
Others killed in the accident were Ken Horzelski, 22, Joshua McNulty, 20, Patrick McTopy Jr., 23, all of LaPlace, and Chance Millet, 25, of Lutcher. Boehringer said a sixth man, 21-year-old Brandon Charles Prudhomme of LaPlace, is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital.
According to Rachel Zechenelly of Wildlife and Fisheries, the accident occurred around 5 p.m. Saturday evening. She said the six men were riding in a 20-foot runabout boat when it collided head on with a 30-foot cabin cruiser. The boats were approaching each other around a bend in the river.
“Witnesses on the scene said that the pilots of both boats attempted maneuvers to avoid the crash,” said Zechenelly. “They made mirroring motions, but made the same move at the last minute.”
Boehringer said of the six passengers onboard the cabin cruiser, two suffered minor injuries in the accident. He said both were treated and released Sunday evening. He said as of Monday, investigators are still trying to piece together information about what happened leading up to the wreck.
“The pilot of the 30-foot boat showed no signs of impairment based on a field sobriety test,” said Boehringer. “An Intoxilyzer test was also administered and it came back clean. We are still awaiting results of a toxicology exam on the presumed pilot of the runabout. We are also unsure about the speed of the crafts at the time of the accident.”
Boehringer said the accident occurred in a location that is typically a busy boating area, but boat traffic that evening was particularly quiet. He said officials from Wildlife and Fisheries spend lots of time on the water in that area ensuring that all boaters follow the rules of the road.
“We are always out there conducting boater safety inspections and DWI checks,” said Boehringer. “Lots of boats go through that area, and operators need to be aware of oncoming watercrafts.”
Family members for the deceased men declined comment for this article, but various members said all six individuals involved were friends. All had attended St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace.